Putnam: Background checks were done; my office didn't check them

Florida didn't conduct gun background checks for an entire year because an official couldn't log in

Florida didn't conduct gun background checks for an entire year because an official couldn't log in

After Florida officials had trouble logging into the Federal Bureau of Investigation crime database to determine whether or not to approve concealed weapons permit applications, tens of thousands of applicants were approved to carry firearms without ever receiving a required background check, Tampa Bay Times reported Friday.

It said that the Federal Bureau of Investigation database was mainly used to check for "non-criminal disqualifying offenses", and that the criminal background checks, while available through the Federal Bureau of Investigation system, were conducted via other databases that continued to be available to the employees.

Critics say Florida's agriculture commissioner should resign because of the lapse in checks.

"There are now 1.8 million active hide weapon license holders in Florida, No. 1 in the nation, up from 800,000 before I came in (to the Agriculture Department)", he boasted. It was donations to Putnam that spawned the boycott and protests of the Public grocery chain.

In a tweet posted last July - and a month after investigators found that his office had botched thousands of background checks - Putnam claimed he was a "Proud NRA sellout". When the actions of what Putnam called the "negligent and deceptive employee" were discovered, the previously-run background checks for all 350,000 applicants were pulled and reviewed.

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.

The Times' report also accuses the Bartow Republican of hiding the snafu for almost a year.

More news: EA Announces Star Wars: Jedi -- Fallen Order, Set Between Episodes III & IV
More news: The 'trend' that is troubling the US
More news: Las Vegas valley still has Golden Knights fever, despite Stanley Cup loss

He said multiple entities, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, provide background check information to his office, which then reviews the information and decides whether to approve or deny a particular applicant.

The report, which was forwarded to Putnam, recommends that the department "identify any NICS ineligible applicants that may have been erroneously issued".

Those people could have had histories of drug addiction, mental health issues, been dishonorably discharged from the military, or a number of other things the NICS searches for. Florida also uses it to check for out-of-state offenses that would disqualify a person from getting a concealed weapons permit, the Times reported.

Although those applicants did indeed receive licenses to carry firearms, Hammer makes an important distinction: "They still would not have been allowed to purchase a firearm from a firearms dealer because the same NICS background check would have been performed by a dealer and would have stopped them from purchasing a firearm". This has caused issues before. In 2012, he said his office had "closed the gap". Egregiously, of those 365, 291 individuals had their gun license revoked once a proper background check was completed. But the legislation was pulled after the deadly mass shooting in Parkland. The employee is quoted in the report as saying that she "dropped the ball". The Department of Agriculture said she failed to do that review.

Yet on Friday, Wilde told the Times she had been working in the mailroom when she was given oversight of the database in 2013.

"I didn't understand why I was put in charge of it", Wilde told the newspaper.

Recommended News

  • EA reveals Unravel Two and Sea of Solitude under its Originals label

    EA reveals Unravel Two and Sea of Solitude under its Originals label

    Sea of Solitude will be launching in early 2019, but there's still no confirmation of the platforms it will release on. EA at their EA Play conference at E3 2018, announced Sea Of Solitude as part of their EA Originals indie project.
    99 killed in Guatemala volcano eruption

    99 killed in Guatemala volcano eruption

    Meanwhile, on Wednesday, rescue crews were repeatedly forced to retreat as Fuego sent boiling water and toxic gas down its slopes. The national disaster agency says it's suspending recovery efforts because of the danger to its workers.
    Emails: Pruitt told staffer to handle another personal chore

    Emails: Pruitt told staffer to handle another personal chore

    Pruitt has been under fire for expenses that seem extravagant including first-class travel and expensive office upgrades . Outside he's being attacked very viciously by the press. "I'm not saying he's blameless, but we'll see what happens".
  • China, Russia Solidify Growing Eastern Bloc as Trump Rattles G-7

    China, Russia Solidify Growing Eastern Bloc as Trump Rattles G-7

    In a symbol of close China-Russia ties, Xi on Friday gave China's first friendship medal to Putin. The U.S. leader has repeatedly said he wants to improve relationships with Moscow.
    John Beilein withdraws from Pistons' head coaching search

    John Beilein withdraws from Pistons' head coaching search

    He has guided the Wolverines to two Big Ten titles, eight NCAA tournament appearances and two national runner-up finishes. He had a meeting and an interview with Pistons officials last week as Detroit searches for their new head coach.
    Belmont Stakes: Justify completes US Flat racing Triple Crown

    Belmont Stakes: Justify completes US Flat racing Triple Crown

    He was blowing pretty good, he got a good blow out of ( the Preakness ), but he wasn't as exhausted as we thought he was". Jockey John Velazquez asked his Curlin colt to go on the attack, but he could only get to the pacesetter's hip.
  • Will Meet North Korea on 'Mission of Peace'

    Will Meet North Korea on 'Mission of Peace'

    Trump and Kim are expected to discuss peace on the Korean Peninsula, with Washington pushing for Pyongyang's denuclearisation. But it doesn't want to be excluded from the talks, and Ms Sun says China flits between "war anxiety and exclusion anxiety".
    Trump signals support for states deciding if pot is legal

    Trump signals support for states deciding if pot is legal

    Trump's embrace of the bill is just another blow to his attorney general, who has been a longtime opponent of marijuana. The Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not support the legalization.
    Max Verstappen - 'One more crash question and I might headbutt someone'

    Max Verstappen - 'One more crash question and I might headbutt someone'

    Not a great day for Alonso, looking to celebrate his 300th Grand Prix in style, but instead fading out unobtrusively in Q2. Verstappen's teammate, Australian Daniel Ricciardo , ran third in practice, with Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen between them.
  • Donald Trump says Russian Federation should be be allowed to rejoin G7

    Days after igniting a trade war , Donald Trump declared Saturday that he wants a world free of all tariffs and trade barriers. The president repeated his tough stance on tariffs, saying allies had been "taking advantage" of the United States on trade.
    Ex-Senate aide appears in federal court after indictment

    Ex-Senate aide appears in federal court after indictment

    According to the indictment, Wolfe lied about having had contact with the reporters between December 2015 and December 2017. Mark Coulson granted Wolfe's release, but with several conditions, at courthouse in downtown Baltimore on Friday afternoon.
    Florida search teams find alligator victim’s remains

    Florida search teams find alligator victim’s remains

    The caller reported seeing the alligator drag her into the pond in Silver Lakes Rotary Nature Park in Davie , Florida . Neighbors say they often see people walking their dogs around the lakes and have even seen kids go swimming in them.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.