For One Year Florida Processed Gun Permits Without Conducting Background Checks Because the Employee Couldn’t Log In
Just recently a Tampa Bay Times investigation found that tens of thousands of gun permits in Florida were processed without background checks between July 2016 and June 2017. All the applicants were issued with concealed weapons permits, which allows people to carry a weapon in public in a concealed or hidden manner.
All the permits were because one employee of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Lisa Wilde, could not log into the background check system for a year. Wilde originally notified her superiors of the issue but never followed up when the problem was not fixed. According to the Tamp Bay Times, Wilde was also under pressure to process an increasingly greater number of applications.
Wilde first stopped using the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) in February 2016 when she could not log into the system. This lasted until another employee discovered the lapse in March 2017. By this time, concealed weapons licenses had been issued to thousands of people, many of whom possibly should not have been approved.
Putnam Lists Expanding Concealed Weapons Permits as One of His Top Achievements in Office
Applications for concealed weapons carry soared during the 2016 to 2017 period, with almost all of them approved. There were 134,000 requests for concealed firearms licenses between July 2014 to June 2015 and 245,000 applications between July 2015 and June 2016. Between July 2016 and June 2017, there were 275,000 license applications.
Some are pinning the blame on Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam for his brash approach to processing permits and for boasting about how many concealed carry permits Florida issued and how fast they were issued. Putman, in 2012, went on the news to announce Florida just issued its one-millionth concealed weapons permit. The state currently has 1.8 million firearm permit holders. Putman stated in a boastful manner, that since his assumption of office concealed weapons permits now get processed within 35 days instead of the usual 12-week window.
Putnam is currently contesting for governor in Florida as a Republican. He lists the vast amounts of concealed carry permits he has approved as one of his major achievements.
“I Dropped the Ball… I Neglected To Do It for Almost a Year,” Wilde Admits
Lisa Wilde, the negligent Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services employee at the center of the weapons permit embarrassment has been fired. She also admitted to wrongdoing during a subsequent interview.
“I dropped the ball – I know I did that,” Wilde said in reference to her failure to use the NICS database to determine the qualification of any applicant before issuing concealed weapons licenses. “I should have been doing it and I didn’t. I neglected to do it for almost a year.”
Putnam blamed Wilde for being “deceitful and negligent,” adding that criminal background investigations conducted on 365 applications as a result of Wilde’s negligence resulted in 291 revocations. He said safeguards had been put in place to ensure this kind of mistake never happens again.