While current Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam was in charge of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, an Office of Inspector General investigation found the department did not conduct background checks for concealed carry permits for a year.
The Tampa Bay Times reports the reason why was because the employee in charge of conducting the checks through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was unable to log into the system.
WOW: "For more than a year, the state of Florida failed to conduct national background checks on tens of thousands of applications for concealed weapons permits" … all bc they forgot the login password. https://t.co/ppaYFDXFXf
— Heather Caygle (@heatherscope) June 8, 2018
Despite being unable to run the background checks, permits were still approved in the same time frame, investigators found.
The problem was only discovered after another employee began to inquire about the lack of permit denials.
“The integrity of our department’s licensing program is our highest priority,” Aaron Keller, a department spokesman, told the Times. “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.”
The employee told investigators she “dropped the ball.”
“I know I did that,” she said. “I should have been doing it, and I didn’t.”
Background checks on permits were still carried out through two other databases, the Florida Crime Information Center database and the National Crime Information Center database.
The NCIS is used to screen for “non-criminal disqualifying offenses.”
In a statement, Putnam said the “former employee was both deceitful and negligent, and we immediately launched an investigation and implemented safeguards to ensure this never happens again.”