Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Florida Failed on Background Checks for an Entire Year

Florida didn't conduct gun background checks for an entire year because an official couldn't log in Florida’s ‘proud NRA sellout’ didn’t do concealed gun background checks for a full year — because he couldn’t log in
Ellis Copeland | 10 June, 2018, 15:33

The Tampa Bay Times reported Friday that a report from the Florida inspector general found that the office of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam - a self-described "Proud NRA sellout" - did not conduct the background checks from February 2016 to March 2017. Perhaps no better example of this fact is a recent report that shows the state of Florida stopped running non-criminal concealed carry background checks on hundreds of individuals because the employee in charge of this necessary precaution could not log in to the National Instant Criminal background Check System. Putnam's office has since revoked those permits, he said.

Despite being unable to run the background checks, permits were still approved in the same time frame, investigators found.

Adam Putnam, the commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Florida gubernatorial candidate, is facing the most criticism over this. But the Florida Democratic party is accusing Putnam of "gross mismanagement" that likely "put the lives of thousands of Floridians at risk", quotes the Orlando Weekly.

The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, a national LGBTQ political organization focused on gun violence, expressed concern that while the background checks weren't made, the state may have issued concealed-weapons licenses "to drug addicts, people with mental illness, and others who should be barred from owning a gun".

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 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". The Times reports that Wilde could not log in to the federal check system and ultimately stopped using it. Keller told the Times that Wilde was sacked immediately after the Inspector General's Office concluded she had been negligent. The Division of Licensing is housed under the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service.

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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. Early in Putnam's term, it was discovered that his employees had trouble accessing the database because they were not law enforcement officers.

Putnam blamed the employee, who he called "negligent and deceptive" for not acting on the results of the background check. His office oversees the concealed weapons licensing program.

Fernandez said he believes the Department of Agriculture will fix the problem. But in March 2017 an investigation was triggered after a state employee noted that the state was not getting any correspondence from people whose applications had been rejected because of information gleaned from the national database.

Florida has more than 1.9 million people licensed to carry concealed weapons.

"Wilde characterized her failure as negligent, and agreed it could cause an embarrassment to the agency", the report says. We took immediate action and implemented the inspector general investigation.

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