A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which oversees the Division of Licensing, said that that NICS was only consulted for "non-criminal disqualifying offenses" and that the department conducted criminal background checks using two other databases maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
After the Division ran new background checks on those 365 applicants, Hammer says 74 were cleared and 291 still had disqualifiers.
During his time as commissioner, Putnam has frequently touted his pro-Second Amendment bona fides, specifically his office's efforts to streamline the process of applying for concealed weapons permits. We took immediate action and implemented the inspector general investigation.
Notably, the employee in question, Lisa Wilde, reported the problem to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on April 7, 2016-some 40 days after she was first unable to log in.
In March of 2017, another employee wondered why the department had not recently received any notices of denials, "which was unusual". But the investigation said she didn't follow up after she continued to experience problems and never accessed the system again.
However, flags raised by one part of the system were then not checked by the department of agriculture, and the applications were approved. His office wouldn't say how many people might have been wrongly granted permits.
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.
Statistics compiled by the department show that from the summer of 2015 to the summer of 2017, the number of new applications for concealed-weapon permits jumped dramatically, to its highest level in 25 years.
But, the Department claimed that it had properly handled their employee's malfeasance upon learning of his failure.
The state used the national system to see if there were reasons such as mental illness or drug addictions that should prevent someone from being issued a concealed-weapons permit.
Although those applicants did indeed receive licenses to carry firearms, Hammer makes an important distinction: "They still would not have been allowed to purchase a firearm from a firearms dealer because the same NICS background check would have been performed by a dealer and would have stopped them from purchasing a firearm". Ultimately, 291 permits were revoked. In Florida, the Department of Agriculture is responsible for carrying out background checks for gun licenses.
"A license to carry does not exempt a person from the background check required when you purchase a firearm", she says. "I should have been doing it and I didn't". His campaign issued a statement saying some background checks were completed later, after officials found out about the lapse.
"I didn't understand why I was put in charge of it", she told the Tampa Bay Times.