June 11, 2018

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Florida, Latest News

It’s Scott vs. Putnam in ‘Disturbing’ Gun Scandal

In case you missed it, the fallout from Adam Putnam’s background check scandal is still making big waves in Florida’s governor race. Today, current Gov. Rick Scott slammed Putnam for issuing concealed carry permits to hundreds of Floridians without conducting national background checks on them. Scott called the report ‘disturbing’ and said he expects, “everybody to be held accountable.”

Read more about Scott throwing Putnam under the bus here or excerpts below:

Tampa Bay Times: ‘Disturbing’ state didn’t review concealed carry background checks, Rick Scott says

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday said it was “disturbing” and “concerning” that the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued concealed weapons permits to hundreds of ineligible people.

“I expect everybody to be held accountable,” Scott said.

On Friday, the Tampa Bay Times reported that from February 2016 through March 2017, no one in the agriculture department checked the results of FBI-administered background checks on 350,000 applications for concealed weapons permits, which flagged 365 candidates for further review. During that time, the state erroneously issued 291 permits to people that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System determined were ineligible.

The NICS database is one of three that the department uses to background check applicants for concealed weapons permits. All 350,000 applicants also had their thumbprint checked against state and federal criminal background systems before they were issued a license.

Adam Putnam, who as state agriculture commissioner oversees the concealed weapons program, learned about the lapse a year ago when it was investigated by the Office of Inspector General. However, Scott said Monday that he still had not seen the results of that investigation.

“People need to do their job. It’s as simple as that,” Scott said. “This is public safety.”

On Saturday, Putnam said “no one’s safety was at risk” because those 291 people would not have been able to purchase a firearm. The department later revoked the permits, Putnam said. 

Putnam, a Republican candidate for governor, blamed the incident on a “negligent and deceptive” employee, who was later fired.

…The report also indicated that the department may not have a backup system to ensure the task was completed. Putnam said that changes were made, but his office so far has not released those details.

While Putnam criticized the initial Times report as “misleading,” Republicans so far have not rushed to his aid.