Putnam: Criminal Background Checks Conducted on Every Concealed Weapon Application

Inside the annual

Inside the annual"Arms and Security exhibition of weaponry and military equipment in Kiev Ukraine

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.

A department employee failed to conduct criminal background checks on the 365 applicants because her system login didn't work.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican running for governor who has touted his efforts to make it easier for people to obtain concealed-weapons permits, said the state did conduct its own criminal background checks on those applying for permits during that time period.

Florida had a huge spike in concealed carry permit applications during that time, the most in state history. It was donations to Putnam that spawned the boycott and protests of the Public grocery chain.

Putnam has pushed back on criticism of his stance on gun control, and he even tweeted previous year about being a "proud NRA sellout"-a full month after an investigation exposed his office for failing to run background checks".

"Upon discovery of this former employee's negligence in not conducting the further review required on 365 applications, we immediately completed full background checks on those 365 applications, which resulted in 291 revocations", Putnam said in the statement.

The Times reports that the problem was traced back to a single employee who was tasked with logging in to the NICS background check system.

The fiscal year ending in 2017 saw 275,000 applications.

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.

"I think they're tidying up shop as we speak and I think the department of agriculture's gonna do the best that they can to make sure that this never occurs again", Fernandez said.

In the year since, there were fewer applications, about 200,000, but 2,000 more denials than the previous year when the federal background check system wasn't accessed.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System was created in 1993 by the FBI and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Florida has more than 1.9 million people licensed to carry concealed weapons. But, any law is useless if it is not enforced. Wilde did report the log-in failure, investigators say, but failed to follow up. Ultimately, permits were revoked for 291 people.

The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has added safeguards to the application review process "to ensure this never happens again", according to a statement on its website.

The report from 2017 quotes the employee saying, "I dropped the ball". "I should have been doing it and I didn't".

The NICS flags people who shouldn't have access to firearms for reasons including criminal convictions, drug use, mental illness and domestic violence. Furthermore, where were her superiors with this lack of oversight?

"I didn't understand why I was put in charge of it", she told the Tampa Bay Times.

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