The Tampa Bay Times reports that the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stopped using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System FBI crime database in February 2016, and the discrepancy wasn't discovered by another employee until March 2017.
A Florida agency in charge of vetting applicants for concealed gun carry permits didn't run tens of thousands of them against an Federal Bureau of Investigation database, as an employee could not log in.
The state ultimately revoked 291 permits and fired an employee blamed for the lapse after an inspector general's report detailing the problem was sent in June 2017 to top officials in the department who oversee the program. "I know I did that, I should have been doing it and I didn't".
That bloodbath spurred a historic spike in applications for carry permits, according to the Tampa Bay Times, which obtained a copy of the June 2017 inspector general's report through an open-records request.
Florida Democrats are dropping the hammer on Putnam pretty quickly.
In 2012, Putnam held a press conference to celebrate Florida's one millionth issued concealed weapons permit.
While the investigation dates back to a year ago, the report was only made public on Friday through a records request by The Tampa Bay Times.
The department employee failed to make follow-up inquiries into 365 applicants who were flagged for noncriminal reasons during three background checks over the year-long period.
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But, the Department claimed that it had properly handled their employee's malfeasance upon learning of his failure.
The investigation found that the Division of Licensing's operations consultant manager, Lisa Wilde, "had a login issue with the NICS checks and never followed up to resolve the issue".
Responding to the criticism, Putnam's office said that the agency promptly took measures to rectify the error, "immediately" reviewing 365 applications, and 291 permits were annulled as a result.
On April 7, 2016, 40 days after records show the department stopped using the database, Wilde reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that her log-in to the background check system wasn't working. It wasn't until March of the next year another employee noticed a problem. All five Democratic gubernatorial candidates - Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Palm Beach developer Jeff Greene, Orlando-area businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine - said Putnam should consider dropping out of the governor's race.
Since 2003, Florida has housed concealed weapons permitting under the Department of Agriculture.
The employee was terminated once her negligence was brought to light.
The report came to light Friday when the Tampa Bay Times reported on the problem. These revocations could be due to mitigating factors such as drug usage, mental illness, and more non-criminal disqualifications for a concealed carry.
"I didn't understand why I was put in charge of it", Wilde told the newspaper.