AP NEWS

Florida commissioner: No mores lapse in background checks

June 10, 2018

FILE - In this April 6, 2018, file photo, Adam Putnam, Republican gubernatorial candidate makes a campaign stop at Kimmins Contracting in Tampa, Fla. The state of Florida failed to conduct national background checks on tens of thousands of applications for concealed weapons permits for more than a year, according to an Office of Inspector General report released Friday, June 8. Putnam is the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services which is charged with conducting background checks on concealed weapons permit applications. (Monica Herndon /Tampa Bay Times via AP, File)

SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. (AP) — 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.

Adam Putnam held a news conference on Saturday in Sun City Center, Florida, to defend himself against critics who say he should resign because of the lapse in checks. Putnam is a Republican candidate for governor.

The commissioner says “more seamless” communication between his agency and law enforcement, and “extra eyeballs,” are in place to make sure the incident never happens again.

He says a department employee failed to make follow-up inquiries into 365 applicants who were flagged for noncriminal reasons during three background checks from February 2016 to March 2017.

The state revoked 291 permits and fired the employee.

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