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Florida Apparently Sold Guns Without Background Checks For A Year

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The Florida Department of Agriculture — the agency responsible for conducting criminal background checks on concealed weapons permit applications — failed to do so for more than a year. 

According to a report from the Tampa Bay Times, thousands of applicants were able to bypass background checks, "potentially allowing drug addicts or people with a mental illness to carry firearms in public."

The department is run by Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, who is running for Florida governor. POLITICO reported that Putnam's agency initially refused to give details about the failure; however, Putnam issued a statement hours later that blamed a single employee.

The alleged reason the employee, Lisa Wilde, failed to conduct background checks? She couldn't "log into" the FBI federal database.

"During that time, which coincided with the June 12, 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub that left 50 dead, the state saw an unprecedented spike in applications for concealed weapons permits," the Tampa Bay Times reported. "There were 134,000 requests for permits in the fiscal year ending in June 2015. The next 12 months broke a record, 245,000 applications, which was topped again in 2017 when the department received 275,000 applications."

A spokesman for the department told the Tampa Bay Times that Wilde was terminated, and every application that was potentially impacted was later reviewed. 

Just a month after the investigation into the department's failure, which had been forwarded to Putnam — though it wasn't public knowledge then — Putnam tweeted that he was a "proud NRA sellout." 

Now, many are calling on him to resign and withdraw from the race for governor.

Even the NRA's Dana Loesch expressed concerns about the failure, tweeting Friday night, "This was the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for applicants and it failed because someone forgot their password. Good grief." She later deleted the tweet. 

As of Saturday afternoon, Putnam was still in his role and in the gubernatorial race. 



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