Tens of thousands of licenses to carry concealed guns were issued without background checks in Florida from February of 2016 to March of 2017 because a state employee couldn’t figure out how to log on to the federal check system. But no one ever asked how it was possible that in up to more than 250,000 applications, no one was denied a permit.
This happened on the watch of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services commissioner Adam Putnam.
Putnam, now running for governor of the Sunshine State, said the lapse was investigated, he blamed the employee and claims that all of the permits processed were checked again and several hundred licenses were revoked. But the investigation was quiet and confidential. Until the Tampa Bay Times did some digging.
Here’s what you need to know about Adam Putnam
1. A Mailroom Employee Was Given Control of the Background Check Database & Said She ‘Didn’t Know Why’ She’d Been Given The Job
The Tampa Bay Times reported that more than a year ago a state investigation was conducted into what occured, findings were made, an employee was fired and the report was filed away, until the paper made a records request.
The reason there were no NICS checks? Employee Lisa Wilde couldn’t log into the FBI’s system and while she did report it, she did not follow up. And apparently no one asked how it was possible for there to be no denials on hundreds of thousands of applications from February 2016 to March of 2017.
The office of Gov. Rick Scott said it had no idea about the breach, lapse, investigation or report.
Putnam issued a statement Friday afternoon where he denied that applications did not have background checks.
“To be clear, a criminal background investigation was completed on every single application. 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 with locations. The former employee was both deceitful and negligent, and we immediately launched an investigation and implement and safeguards to ensure this never happens again.”
Putnam does however boast about expanding concealed carry permits as one of his most significant successes. Putnam says it’s a “hard fact” that he “grew Florida’s concealed carry program to the largest in the nation.”
“As Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam expanded the state’s concealed weapon license program so it is now the largest in the country. He expedited over 75,000 Florida concealed weapon license applications for active military members and veterans. He believes if you carried a gun in Iraq, you should be able to own one at home,” his website reads.
“Adam believes the Second Amendment is an inalienable right. He is committed to defending that right from progressive liberals,” his campaign website reads.
2. Pro Gun Rights, Putnam is Running For Florida Governor & Embraces & Praises Trump Administration Policy
“President Donald J. Trump just celebrated his 500th day in office and the results speak for themselves. Here in Florida, we’ll continue to advance POTUS’ economic agenda and build on the legacy of Governor Rick Scott,” he wrote.
Putnam said he’d work with fellow NRA members to protect concealed weapons licenses, and the “inalienable right” afforded Americans to “protect your family and your property.”
Putnam also has video uploads on the Trump TV YouTube channel.
On Saturday June 9, Putnam spent around 20 minutes explaining what occurred in 2016 when no criminal background checks were performed on conceal carry gun permit applications in a press conference posted to Facebook.
3. Publix Stopped Making Donations to Putnam After the Parkland Student-Led Die-In & Protests
The Miami Herald reported that Publix stopped all corporate political contributions just as Parkland survivor and gun control advocate David Hogg and others lay on the floor of a Coral Springs store in a die-in holding signs that said “No NRA Money.”
Parkland student activists have been focused on calling out the NRA and Putman was not one to hide his NRA pride.
Publix had originally said it donated to Putnam as a corporate constituent and not in any way related to the candidate’s support of the NRA but agreed nonetheless to pull its support not just for Putnam but for all politicians.
4. Putnam Has Law Enforcement Support on His ‘Secure Florida First’ Agenda Which Pledges to ‘Keep Schools Safe & Prevent Mass Violence’
“We have to guarantee that most basic function (of government), which is public safety,” Putnam says. “The goal is to secure our borders and our communities and our neighborhoods, keep our schools safe and prevent mass violence…”
Scores of Florida sheriffs have publicly stated their support for Putnam.
5. Putnam’s ‘Florida First Agenda’ Includes Border Security & Immigration Reform to ‘Protect Florida’s Borders’
“Weak border security endangers the lives of Americans,” he says and vows to work with Trump to “cut funding for sanctuary cities” and “vetting for refugees from Muslim countries.”
He is committed, he says, to conservative Christian values. Putnam says he “won’t back down” and will “fight back” and that he is battling for “faith and freedom.”
“We have a moral obligation to defend life, a duty to protect our constitutional freedoms and a responsibility to keep our borders and neighborhoods safe and secure,” Putnam says.