Faulty gun-permit holders may never be identified

Orlando Sentinel by Gray Rohrer

June 11, 2018

TALLAHASSEE – The failure of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s office to review background checks for concealed weapons permits means that 291 people with possible histories of drug abuse, mental illness or domestic violence could have been able to legally carry a concealed gun for more than a year.

Those permits have since been revoked, but a public records exemption for permit applications means it may be impossible for the public to know who was able to legally carry a gun in public without proper authorization.

On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott called the situation “disturbing,’’ and Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, called for a Senate investigation.

The situation “has deeply shaken our trust in the agency’s ability to safeguard the people of Florida,” Stewart wrote Monday in a letter to Senate President Joe Negron requesting the probe. “As more details have emerged since news broke of the scandal late Friday, questions have mounted as to the degree of knowledge within the agency, namely who knew what, and when?”

“The news reporting on the incident relating to the gun background checks has been flat wrong and misleading,” Putnam said. “A criminal background investigation was completed on every single one of the 349,923 concealed weapon license applications that were submitted between February 2016 and March of 2017.”

The Times clarified its story to note that the background checks were completed, but the ones that raised flags were not reviewed. The inspector general report details the negligence by one employee, Lisa Wilde; in charge of reviewing the background checks that went unnoticed for more than a year.

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