Adam putnam’s office stopped reviewing concealed weapons background checks for a year because it couldn’t log in tampa bay times data recovery software reviews

For more than a year, the state of Florida failed to review national background checks on tens of thousands of applications for concealed weapons permits, potentially allowing drug addicts or people with a mental illness to carry firearms in public.

A previously unreported Office of Inspector General investigation found that in February 2016 the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stopped using the results from an FBI crime database called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System that ensures applicants who want to carry a gun do not have a disqualifying history in other states.

The employee in charge of the background checks could not log into the system, the investigator learned. The problem went unresolved until discovered by another worker in March 2017 — meaning that for more than a year applications got approved without the required background check.


During that time, which coincided with the June 12, 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub that left 50 dead, the state saw an unprecedented spike in applications for concealed weapons permits. There were 134,000 requests for permits in the fiscal year ending in June 2015. The next 12 months broke a record, 245,000 applications, which was topped again in 2017 when the department received 275,000 applications.

Department employees interviewed for the report called the NICS checks "extremely important." Concealed weapons licenses "may have been issued to potentially ineligible individuals." If it came out they weren’t conducted, "this could cause an embarrassment to the agency," the report said.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has made it a priority to speed up the issuing of concealed weapons permits since he was elected in 2010. In 2012, he held a news conference to celebrate the state’s one millionth concealed weapons permit, noting the time it took to process an application fell from 12 weeks to 35 days on his watch. There are now 1.8 million concealed weapon permit holders in Florida.

Last month, victims of the Parkland tragedy and activists conducted die-ins at Publix grocery stores and called for a boycott of the company after it was reported that the supermarket chain donated more money to Putnam than any candidate in history.

"The integrity of our department’s licensing program is our highest priority," said Aaron Keller, a department spokesman, when contacted Friday. "As soon as we learned that one employee failed to review applicants’ non-criminal disqualifying information, we immediately terminated the employee, thoroughly reviewed every application potentially impacted, and implemented safeguards to prevent this from happening again."

"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 former employee was both deceitful and negligent, and we immediately launched an investigation and implemented safeguards to ensure this never happens again."

Keller added that the NICS database is used for "non-criminal disqualifying offenses" and during this time, the state conducted criminal background checks using two other databases, the Florida Crime Information Center database and the National Crime Information Center database.

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. But the investigation said she didn’t follow up after she continued to experience problems and never accessed the system again.

In March of 2017, another employee wondered why the department had not recently received any notices of denials, "which was unusual." The employee reached out to FDLE, which handles appeals for denials. FDLE responded that it had not received an appeal from a concealed weapons applicant since September 2016, setting off alarm bells.

From July 2016 through June 2017, which covers most of the period when the system wasn’t accessed, 268,000 applications were approved and 6,470 were denied for reasons like an incomplete application or the state discovered they were ineligible, according to the state Agriculture Department’s annual concealed weapons permit report.

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