In New Low, Adam Putnam Wants to Let Criminals Get Gun Licenses
As GOP Field Rushes to the Far Right, Putnam Tries to Sell Out Floridians’ Safety
TALLAHASSEE, Fl.- In the latest sign that the Republican gubernatorial field is racing to the far right, the Tampa Bay Times reported today that Adam Putnam has personally inserted a provision in a House agriculture bill that could give criminals gun licenses. The provision, which Sen. Kelli Stargel said Putnam personally “sought,” would change the state’s concealed weapons law to allow Floridians’ gun licenses even if they have not completed a criminal background check. Putnam’s office has a long record of mismanaging the state’s concealed carry program, and his reported effort to change the law creates a real risk of putting guns in the hands of criminals.
“Adam Putnam is trying to endanger the safety of Floridians to protect his right flank,” said FDP spokesperson Kevin Donohoe. “The fact that Putnam is now willing to put weapons in the hands of criminals to score a few points with the gun lobby isn’t just cynical — it’s dangerous. Putnam’s push to let criminals have guns may help him with the far right, but it will be a major liability in the general election.”
Putnam’s reported efforts are just his latest effort to pander to the party’s base by taking extreme positions out of step with most Floridians. Last year, Putnam infamously called himself a “NRA sellout” and his push to weaken common sense gun safety laws is just the latest example of Republicans’ embrace of the far right. In the past four days, House Speaker Corcoran released a widely criticized, race-baiting ad and U.S. Congressman Ron DeSantis publicly endorsed efforts to sabotage Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump.
Background information on Putnam’s mismanagement of Florida’s concealed carry program:
In 2012, the Agriculture Department Could Not Access the FBI NICS Database for Background Checks Because It Was Not a Law Enforcement Agency. 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 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 Put-nam’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]
HEADLINE: Hackers may have names of thousands of Florida gun owners. [Associated Press, 5/22/17]
Putnam’s Lax Privacy Policies Allowed Hackers to Get Thousands of Records. According to the Associated Press, “Officials say hackers may have obtained the names of more than 16,000 people who have Florida concealed 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]