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11 June 2018, 02:48 | Darnell Patrick
Adam Putnam touts his efforts to expand concealed carry gun permits in Florida in a Facebook
We responded to the email from Putnam's office, asking why the commissioner didn't immediately publicly address the investigation after it was finished a year ago.
Florida's most influential gun advocate is countering reports that hundreds of people may have mistakenly received the state's concealed weapons permits without proper background checks.
According to the investigation, in February 2016, the employee couldn't log in to the database.
"Background checks were done through FCIC (Florida Criminal Information Computer system) and NCIC (National Criminal Information Computer system - the national Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint database) and they also did a NICS check, which is the name-based background check system", she says.
"I dropped the ball", the employee said in the report.
The state ultimately revoked 291 permits and fired an employee blamed for the lapse.
At a news conference Saturday, Putnam said when his office learned of the problem, it reviewed 365 concealed weapons applications flagged through the NICS search. Anyone seeking to purchase a gun must undergo a background check performed by FDLE at the time of purchase.
"To be clear, a criminal background investigation was completed on every single application".
"The former employee was both deceitful and negligent, and we immediately launched an investigation and implemented safeguards to ensure this never happens again", Putnam said in a statement.
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Putnam's office told the Times that the employee was "immediately terminated" after another employee discovered the situation and that every application potentially impacted was "thoroughly reviewed".
On Friday, the Times reported that the state of Florida failed to conduct national background checks on tens of thousands of applications but should have more precisely stated that the background checks were not reviewed, which is an essential part of the approval process. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is run by Putnam, a Republican candidate for governor. The NICS database, administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, putatively ensures that applicants who want to carry a gun in public are not ineligible due to their criminal history in other states. The report was issued in June of 2017. The employee should have put those applications into the state system as being ineligible but didn't, Putnam said.
Fernandez said he believes the Department of Agriculture will fix the problem.
In the recent legislative session, Putnam proposed legislation that would require permits to be approved in cases when an application is in limbo because background checks are inconclusive.
As Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam expanded the state's concealed weapon license program so it is now the largest in the country.
For more than a year, Florida failed to do national background checks that could have disqualified people from gaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Meanwhile, in Pensacola, Putnam's Republican primary opponent, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, held a rare campaign event where he responded for the first time to the inspector general report, calling it "very concerning".
Emails included in the report said the employee tried to get online-access help from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in April 2016 and told someone she was having login problems.
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