The Tampa Bay Times reports that checks via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) began to be omitted by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in February 2016, and it was March 2017 before anyone in the department noticed.
Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida, however, called the lack of background checks an "example of gross neglect" and cited part of the Times story that said the now-fired employee had been promoted from the mailroom to be in charge of database checks.
The Florida government did not conduct background checks on thousands of applicants for concealed weapons for a year because the state employee was unable to log into the system.
During that time, which coincided with the June 12, 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub that left 50 dead, the state saw an unprecedented spike in applications for concealed weapons permits. "I should have been doing it and I didn't", she said.
The lapse, revealed in an internal report that was not widely known about until Friday, occurred during a time period when there was a significant surge in the number of people seeking permission to legally carry a concealed weapon.
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Several state leaders have called for his resignation.
The Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, a national LGBTQ political organization focused on gun violence, expressed concern that while the background checks weren't made, the state may have issued concealed-weapons licenses "to drug addicts, people with mental illness, and others who should be barred from owning a gun".
When the department completed the full background checks with information from the NICS system on the 365 applications she failed to review, 291 licenses were ultimately revoked.
Putnam said the employee no longer works for his department. But the investigation said she didn't follow up after she continued to experience problems and never accessed the system again.
"Wilde characterized her failure as negligent, and agreed it could cause an embarrassment to the agency", the report says.
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Wilde, who was found to be "negligent" by the investigators, admitted her fault, telling The Times that she was pressured into processing applications as fast as possible and "dropped the ball" on her other duties.
Upon discovery of this former employee's negligence in March of 2017, the department immediately launched an audit of the 365 applications she failed to review.
The Tampa Bay Times first reported on the inspector general's report. Egregiously, of those 365, 291 individuals had their gun license revoked once a proper background check was completed. All five Democratic gubernatorial candidates - Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, Palm Beach developer Jeff Greene, Orlando-area businessman Chris King and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine - said Putnam should consider dropping out of the governor's race. The Division of Licensing is housed under the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service.
In Florida, it is also used to background check an applicant for a concealed weapons permit for any out-of-state offenses.
"I didn't understand why I was put in charge of it".
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