Putnam Admits He Granted 291 Permits without Background Checks
Immediately after Putnam's Press Conference, Marion Hammer Defends Him
At a press conference today, Adam Putnam admitted that his department had approved concealed carry permits for 291 individuals without conducting proper background checks and were forced to revoke those permits. Those 291 individuals could have secretly packed heat in the Sunshine State by purchasing a firearm through the gun show loophole.
The presser represented the latest chapter in what has been a twenty-four hour existential crisis for the Putnam campaign. Putnam and his team have struggled to explain for nearly a day the Agriculture Department's failure to properly conduct background checks — despite the fact that they have known about the lapse for nearly a year.
"Instead of taking responsibility and showing real leadership, Adam Putnam is trying to throw one of his employees under the bus and launch Trumpian attacks on the press. The truth matters though. Under Adam Putnam's watch, the Department of Agriculture granted background checks to 291 people who could not pass a background check and then hid it from the people of Florida. Adam Putnam undermined public safety, misled the people of Florida and now is leaning on Marion Hammer to defend his gross negligence," said FDP spokesperson Kevin Donohoe.
Yesterday, the Putnam campaign was unable to explain why the Agriculture department failed to conduct proper background checks. Putnam's spokesperson did not initially deny the Tampa Bay Times' reporting. Then, this afternoon — nearly twenty-four hours after the Tampa Bay Times published their investigation — Putnam held a press conference where he attacked the Times. Immediately after his press conference, Marion Hammer blasted an email backing up Putnam's story.
Putnam still hasn't answered major questions about the scandal:
- Why did Putnam not disclose these lapses at the time if he had nothing to hide and acted appropriately? Why did it take a Tampa Bay Times report for these lapses to become public?
- Why did the Putnam team not put forward the explanation presented at Saturday's press conference when they were initially asked for comment by the Times?
- Does Adam Putnam still not feel any sort of responsibility?
- Why was an employee of the mailroom put in charge of this process in the first place? Were senior staffers disciplined at all?
- Did Putnam's campaign coordinate with Marion Hammer on "damage control" around this story? Why did her fact sheet come out right after the press conference?
- On Friday night, NRA lobbyist Hammer blasted Putnam to Politico Florida. A day later, she was defending him. What did the Putnam team say or do to get Hammer's support back?