Florida Failed on Background Checks for an Entire Year

All concealed weapon permits were approved for over 12 months
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 9, 2018 12:00 PM CDT
Florida Failed on Background Checks for an Entire Year
In this April 6, 2018, file photo, Adam Putnam, Republican gubernatorial candidate makes a campaign stop at Kimmins Contracting in Tampa, Fla.   (Monica Herndon /Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)

Florida failed to perform national background checks on thousands of applications for concealed-weapon permits for over a year, the Tampa Bay Times reports. According to a year-old state investigation, in February 2016 the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stopped using a national database to approve such applications. The worker overseeing background checks, Lisa Wilde, couldn't log into the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System—a problem that persisted until another employee noticed it in March 2017. The state has since fired Wilde and says any improper applications from that time were revoked. Wilde did report the log-in failure, investigators say, but failed to follow up.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a strongly pro-NRA Republican running for governor, released a statement calling Wilde "deceitful and negligent" and said that 365 applications requiring further review from that time "resulted in 291 revocations." 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 background-check bungle coincided with the Pulse nightclub shooting, which took 50 lives, and a historic uptick in Florida concealed-weapons applications. The state saw 134,000 requests in the fiscal year ending in June 2015, followed by an unprecedented 245,000 applications in 2016 and 275,000 in 2017. (More Florida stories.)

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