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Putnam reacts to criticism over failed gun background checks

Putnam reacts to criticism over failed gun background checks

All applicants for a Florida concealed weapon license submit fingerprints that are checked against the Florida Crime Information Center database (FCIC), National Crime Information Center database (NCIC) and National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for disqualifying offenses. The employee is quoted in the report as saying that she "dropped the ball".

When the department completed the full background checks with information from the NICS system on the 365 applications she failed to review, 291 licenses were ultimately revoked.

Some pointed out that the negligence of one employee in Florida might have endangered lives in other states, as a concealed carry permit issued in Florida is also valid in 36 other states.

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.

"To be clear, a criminal background investigation was completed on every single application".

The Department, meanwhile, said that it "immediately" fired the employee after becoming aware of her non-compliance with the procedure, and it "thoroughly reviewed every application potentially impacted". That would be Republican Adam Putnam, the state's current Agriculture Commissioner who is also now running 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. While the Office of Inspector General's investigation was ongoing, the department adopted safeguards into the application review process to ensure this never happens again. "The former employee was both deceitful and negligent, and we immediately launched an investigation and implemented safeguards to ensure this never happens again".

Fernandez said he believes the Department of Agriculture will fix the problem.

The employee failed to make follow-up inquiries into 365 applicants who were flagged for noncriminal reasons during three background checks over the year-long period
Putnam reacts to criticism over failed gun background checks

Putnam asserted that "no one's safety was at risk" because those 291 people would not have been able to purchase a firearm.

About 350,000 people applied for a concealed weapon license during the period in question, the department said.

Putnam says despite the serious error, there were still background checks in place during that time.

In July 2017, just a few months after the database login issue was reportedly fixed, Putnam tweeted in response to accusations that he was a pawn of the NRA, claiming he was "proud" of the hashtagged #NRASellout moniker and inviting his supporters to join him in labeling themselves as such.

On April 7, 2016, 40 days after records show the department stopped using the database, Wilde reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that her log-in to the background check system wasn't working.

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". It wasn't until March of the next year another employee noticed a problem.

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