Florida's agriculture commissioner promises his office will never again fail to do follow-up on certain national background checks that could disqualify people from gaining permits to carry concealed weapons. The results of the investigation had not been made public until now.
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.
Spectrum Bay News 9 asked why nothing was done to correct the login issue in the first place, as the investigation revealed that the employee had emailed IT about it in 2016.
"This was a very serious issue", said Putnam, a Republican candidate for governor.
The non-criminal issues include being an undocumented immigrant, involuntarily committed or dishonorably discharged from the military, the Tampa Bay Times said.
To be clear, a criminal background investigation was completed on every single one of the 349,923 concealed weapon license applications submitted from February 2016 to March 2017.
Department employees interviewed in the investigation called the NICS checks "extremely important", the report said, and if it came out they weren't accessed, "this could cause an embarrassment to the agency".
Putnam blamed the lapse on a negligent and "deceitful" employee.
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Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, however, called the lack of background checks an "example of gross neglect" and cited part of the Times story that said the now-fired employee had been promoted from the mailroom to be in charge of database checks.
The employee was terminated once her negligence was brought to light. "I also want to know why, if this report was done a year ago, why are we just now finding out about this?"
Putnam asserted that "no one's safety was at risk" because those 291 people would not have been able to purchase a firearm.
Putnam said the employee no longer works for his department.
He laid the blame exclusively on the employee who forgot the password had signaled the problem to another official but then failed to pursue the matter. She reached out to FDLE in April for help, but nothing got fixed and she never followed up after that.
"I didn't understand why I was put in charge of it", Wilde told the newspaper. There were 134,000 requests for permits in the fiscal year ending in June 2015. While 54,045 new applications were filed in June and July a year before the massacre, that number rose by almost 24,000 for the same two months in 2016.
"Career politicians like Mr. Putnam think this is just another bad day at the office - but when you hide a level of negligence that endangers every resident, and every child, in Florida, you forfeit any moral right to lead", said former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, one of the Democratic candidates running for governor.
"It seemed like he wasn't minding the store when we needed him to be there", DeSantis told reporters afterward.