Adam Putnam: No mores lapse in background checks

11 June, 2018, 02:50 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Florida approved pistol permits without full background checks

According to a February 2016 investigative report from Florida's Inspector General, first reported by the Tampa Bay Times, a state Division of Licensing employee identified as Lisa Wilde was unable to log into the system to actually complete these background checks.

The final report issued in June 2017 states that an employee in the Division of Licensing did not run applications through the national system because she couldn't log into the database.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that the state of Florida failed to conduct certain background checks for applicants seeking to obtain a concealed carry license for more than a year because the employee in charge of the system could not log in into the Federal Bureau of Investigation database.

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. Wilde did report the log-in failure, investigators say, but failed to follow up.

Hours after the Times story published, Putnam's office said upon learning of the lapse in 2017, it "immediately" reviewed 365 applications and revoked 291 concealed weapons permits.

Democrats have called for Putnam's resignation. 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. However, no one seemed to be bothered with the drop in denials for over a year, until the Bureau of License Issuance (BLI) chief sounded the alarm over the lack of any recent requests in late March 2017. And Philip Levine, a former Miami Beach mayor, called for an investigation and said Putnam has forfeited "any moral right to lead".

Rather than attempt to fix the problem, the employee was said to have "purposely failed to perform essential job duties", with an internal investigation concluding she was "negligent".


Putnam's office told the Times that the employee was "immediately terminated" after another employee discovered the situation and that every application potentially impacted was "thoroughly reviewed".

Emails included in the report said the employee tried to get online-access help from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in April 2016 and told someone she was having login problems.

The full statement from his office, as well as a full statement from Putnam, can be seen below.

Wilde was chastised as negligent in the inspector general's report. All five Democratic gubernatorial candidates - Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Palm Beach developer Jeff Greene, Orlando-area businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine - said Putnam should consider dropping out of the governor's race. In Florida, the Department of Agriculture is responsible for carrying out background checks for gun licenses.

Putnam asserted that "no one's safety was at risk" because those 291 people would not have been able to purchase a firearm. These revocations could be due to mitigating factors such as drug usage, mental illness, and more non-criminal disqualifications for a concealed carry.

"I didn't understand why I was put in charge of it".

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