Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis have spent their careers kowtowing to the gun lobby and opposing even the bare minimum of gun safety. Putnam infamously called himself a proud NRA sellout and essentially handed over the Department of Agriculture to the NRA. Just this week, the Tampa Bay Times revealed that Putnam dangerously required employees to approve 75 concealed carry permits every single day — that’s nine per hour.
Putnam and DeSantis’ record has outraged Floridians — but bought them the support of one group: the NRA.
Just a day after it was revealed that a Russian spy had infiltrated the NRA, the group released its scores for statewide candidates, and Marion’s boys came out doing well. Ron DeSantis received an A and Adam Putnam — who has gone above and beyond to mismanage the state’s concealed carry system — got the coveted A plus.
Here’s a look back at their long records of endangering Floridians and caving to the gun lobby:
In July 2017, Putnam Called Himself a “Proud NRA Sellout.” According to a Sun-Sentinel editorial, “This week, Putnam said people should be allowed to carry concealed weapons on college campuses and openly carry guns just about anywhere. Then, taking a cue from President Donald Trump, he blamed ‘the liberal media’ for the ensuing criticism. Worse, he took to social media to call himself a ‘proud NRA sellout’ — words sure to haunt him.” [Sun-Sentinel, editorial, 7/26/17]
For Over a Year, FDACS Did Not Complete FBI NICS Background Checks – Because They Couldn’t Log Into the Database. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “For more than a year, the state of Florida failed to conduct national background checks on tens of thousands of applications for concealed weapons permits, potentially allowing drug addicts or people with a mental illness to carry firearms in public. The employee in charge of the background checks could not log into the system, the investigator learned. The problem went unresolved until discovered by another worker in March 2017 — meaning that for more than a year applications got approved without the required background check.” [Tampa Bay Times, 6/8/18]
Putnam’s Staffer Responsible for Completing NICS Checks Said She Was Under Pressure From Supervisors to Quickly Approve Applications. According to theTampa Bay Times, “In a Friday interview with the Times, Wilde said the licensing department was overwhelmed with the number of applications and she was under pressure from supervisors to quickly approve applications.” [Tampa Bay Times, 6/8/18]
Putnam Wouldn’t Have Signed the Parkland Bill. According to the Sun-Sentinel, “Putnam said the Legislature and governor ‘deserve credit for moving rapidly, particularly on the two areas that I think are most important for keeping our kids safe.’ While he supported elements that would increase school security, Putnam does not support elements such as raising the age for buying rifles and shotguns. But he said, that doesn’t mean he would have vetoed the legislation. He said he’d have found a way to work with the Legislature to come up with an alternative that didn’t restrict guns.” [Sun-Sentinel, 4/30/18]
DeSantis Campaign Manager: Guns “The Issue [Putnam and DeSantis] Probably Have The Least Separation On.” According to the Tallahassee Democrat, “Both Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam of Bartow and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Palm Coast stand firm in their support for gun owner rights, a stance that deeply resonates with Florida’s conservative voters who view the Second Amendment as sacrosanct. And there’s little that differentiates the two on the issue. ‘I think this is the issue they probably have the least separation on,’ said Brad Herold, a political adviser for DeSantis. And he is right.” [Tallahassee Democrat, 6/9/18]
Putnam and DeSantis Only Came Out Against the Parkland Bill After It Was Signed. According to Politico, “Corcoran tried to say the bill was a win for gun owners because it allowed for armed school personnel, but NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer told her members it was a ‘betrayal.’ Meanwhile, Putnam and DeSantis both said they opposed the bill — but only after Gov. Rick Scott signed it into law.” [Politico, 5/8/18]
DeSantis Said He Would Have Vetoed the Parkland Bill Passed By the Legislature. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “Congressman Ron DeSantis told a crowd of pro-Trump supporters that he would have vetoed the Legislature’s Parkland gun bill if he were governor, according to the Sun Sentinel. ‘I would have vetoed it,’ DeSantis, one of the leading Republican candidates for governor, briefly told a reporter Monday night after speaking to the Palm Beach County Donald Trump Club.” [Tampa Bay Times, 4/10/18]
In November 2017, DeSantis Voted Against Prohibiting Violent Offenders From Possessing Concealed Weapons. According to Bloomberg, “A slew of amendments brought by Democrats were shot down, including a proposal by Nadler to ban violent offenders from possessing a concealed handgun and another from Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas to exclude those convicted of domestic violence and stalking.” DeSantis voted against Amendment 3, offered by Nadler, to HR 38. The amendment failed, 12-15. [Bloomberg, 11/29/17; HR 38, Amendment #3, Roll Call No. 1, 11/29/17]
In November 2017, DeSantis Voted Against Prohibiting Individuals Convicted of Stalking or Domestic Violence From Possessing Concealed Weapons. According to Bloomberg, “A slew of amendments brought by Democrats were shot down, including a proposal by Nadler to ban violent offenders from possessing a concealed handgun and another from Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas to exclude those convicted of domestic violence and stalking.” DeSantis voted against Amendment 5, offered by Jackson Lee, to HR 38. The amendment failed, 8-16. [Bloomberg, 11/29/17; HR 38, Amendment #5, Roll Call No. 3, 11/29/17]