Adam Putnam’s office stopped gun permit checks for more than a year

Published: Updated:

Hundreds of people may have gotten concealed carry licenses in Florida who shouldn’t have them after an alarming mistake by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

An investigation into the gaffe started when a Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services employee realized they hadn’t received any appeals for concealed carry permits in some time.

But Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s office says they did do criminal background checks on those applicants. What wasn’t checked were other disqualifying offenses such as mental illness or drug addiction.

According to the report by the Tampa Bay Times, the employee at the center of the investigation had trouble logging into the system that processes the background checks for permits. When the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services noticed they hadn’t gotten any denials, they started questioning why.

“We want the state to do their job, we want the state to obviously look at someone’s mental health and look at someone’s criminal history to determine whether or not they should legally be allowed to carry a firearm concealed,” said Aaron Forum from Shoot Center.

An audit revealed emails from the employee in April of 2016 asking for help on how to log into the system, but she reportedly never followed up. This made it easier for hundreds of applicants to get a concealed carry license.

“It’s a little bit alarming because obviously we want people to have the right to carry a handgun with the proper certification, so if the state isn’t doing their job, then that calls into question whether or not someone who has a permit now has a valid permit,” Forum said.

Putnam’s office released the following statement on the investigation:

“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’s office also said that their former employee was both deceitful and negligent, and they immediately launched an investigation and implemented safeguards to ensure it never happens again.

*An earlier version of this report stated a Florida Department of Law Enforcement employee’s negligence led to hundreds receiving concealed carry permits. This report has since been corrected to clarify the error was reportedly made by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

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