Despite months of public outcry about his NRA Sellout comments, Adam Putnam is now running a Facebook ad that includes a section touting his long record of trying to expand access to guns and his department’s controversial mishandling of Florida’s concealed carry program.
Putnam’s new ad began running on Facebook on May 29. Much of the footage has been used in previous television ads — but the Facebook ad includes a new frame focusing on his efforts “expanding concealed carry.”
It’s a controversial record for Putnam to highlight. During the legislative session, Putnam tried to sneak language into an agriculture bill that would have allowed anyone to receive a concealed carry permit without completing a background check. In the wake of the Parkland massacre, Senate Republican Budget Chair Rob Bradley removed the language from the bill.
Putnam also has a long record of mismanaging the state’s concealed carry program — and his efforts to expand concealed carry have often been grossly incompetent. For years, Putnam’s department falsely claimed that they were checking concealed carry applicants against an FBI database. That was a blatant lie. Under scrutiny, in 2012 Putnam falsely claimed that the “gap” had been fixed — he was quickly contradicted by the department’s director of licensing.
That wasn’t the only scandal under Putnam’s tenure. Putnam’s mismanagement allowed hackers to get thousands of records of concealed carry permit holders — a stunning beach of the public trust.
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 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 theBradenton 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]
Under Putnam, Hackers Were Able to Obtain Personal Information About Thousands of Concealed Weapons License Holders. 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 AdamPutnam 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]