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FDP Statement: NRA Sellout Adam Putnam Has a Long Record of Making Florida Less Safe

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Today, the Associated Press is reporting that Adam Putnam will release his public safety plan.

Putnam has a long record of making Floridians unsafe. In his current perch as Ag Commissioner, he has grossly mismanaged the state's concealed carry system, failed to work with the FBI for years on background checks, proposed legislation to potentially give criminals access to the concealed carry permit, and opposed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Act. And when it comes to disaster preparedness, Putnam has been silent about Rick Scott's appointment of Wes Maul, the governor's 30-year-old former body man and press flack, as head of the Department of Emergency Management.

Florida Democratic Party spokesperson Kevin Donohoe said:

"Adam Putnam claims he cares about public safety but for years he has worked hand-in-hand with Marion Hammer and the NRA to put guns in the hands in the wrong people. As Agriculture Commissioner, Putnam's record on safety has been defined by dishonesty, gross mismanagement, incompetence, and a failure to properly work with law enforcement agencies like the FBI. Now, in an election-year stunt, Putnam is trying to erase his dangerous record and pretend he's a champion of Floridians' security. But Floridians know that an NRA sellout can never keep them safe."

Putnam has a long record of mismanaging the state's concealed carry program — and his his efforts to expand "concealed carry" have often been grossly incompetent. For years, the Department of Agriculture falsely claimed that they were checking concealed carry applicants against the FBI NICS database. That was a blatant lie. Under scrutiny, in 2012 Putnam falsely claimed that the "gap" had been fixed — and was quickly contradicted by the department's director of licensing.

That wasn't the only scandal under Putnam's tenure. Putnam's lack of attentiveness allowed hackers to get thousands of records of concealed carry permit holders — a stunning breach of the public trust.

Putnam's Department Was Not Checking Concealed Carry Permit Applicants' Criminal Records

In 2012, the Agriculture Department Could Not Access the FBI NICS Database for Background Checks. According to the Sun-Sentinel, "Another gap has surfaced in how Florida screens applicants for gun carry permits: The state agency responsible can't access a federal database containing 1.6 million records of people nationwide with mental illness, the Sun Sentinel found. Because it is not a law enforcement agency, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services cannot obtain information from the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System, known as ‘NICS', when considering whether to grant a concealed weapon license." [Sun Sentinel, 7/6/12]

In February 2010, the Bureau Chief for the FDACS Division of Licensing Said All Applicants' Names and Fingerprints Were Run Through the FBI. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, "Susan Harrell, bureau chief for the Florida Department of Agriculture's Division of Licensing, said that all applicants' names and fingerprints are run through the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and then the FBI." [Philadelphia Daily News, 2/5/10]

In December 2012, Putnam Said, "We Have Closed the Gap" When Asked if the Department Was Now Reviewing FBI Data. According to the Bradenton Herald, Putnam said ‘we have closed the gap' when asked if the department was now reviewing the FBI data." [Bradenton Herald, 12/13/12]

The Director of Licensing Said, "the Gap is Not Completely Shut Yet," as the Department of Agriculture Did Not Have Access to FBI Information. According to the Bradenton Herald, "Grea Bevis, the department's director of licensing, said after the news conference that the agency still does not have access to the FBI information. ‘The gap is not completely shut yet,' Bevis said. He said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is allowed to look at the data and will work with Putnam's agency to make sure that happens early next year." [Bradenton Herald, 12/13/12]

In June 2012, the Sun-Sentinel Reported That for a Decade the Agriculture Department Had Been Neglecting Further Background Checks on Concealed-Carry Applicants With Illegible Fingerprints. According to the Sun-Sentinel, For as long as a decade, Florida has not been conducting further background checks on applicants for gun-carry permits in cases in which the fingerprint cards submitted were illegible. Each of the two state agencies involved thought the other was doing the necessary additional screening. Neither was." [Sun Sentinel, 6/8/12]

Under Putnam's Watch, Hackers Got Records of Florida Gun Owners

Under Putnam, Hackers Were Allowed to Get Thousands of Concealed Carry Records. According to the Associated Press, "Officials say hackers may have obtained the names of more than 16,000 people who have Florida con-cealed weapon permits. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Monday they had discovered a data breach of the online payment system that processes payments for applications and permits. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has ordered a review of the department's cybersecurity measures. State law enforcement is investigating the breach, which authorities suspect originated from overseas. The agency stated that no financial information was obtained. The department also warned that the breach may have revealed the social security numbers of 469 customers. The agency plans on offering free credit protection for one year to these individuals." [Associated Press, 5/22/17]