Florida Revokes Hundreds of Carry Permits After 'Deceitful' Worker Sabotages Background Check System


A common refrain heard from the anti-gun left is that the scourge of gun violence would be reduced or disappear if only the nation would agree to the imposition of stricter gun control laws.

Pro-gun folks typically counter that argument by pointing to the plethora of gun control laws already on the books, many of which fail to do anything to reduce gun violence or are ineffective because they aren’t adequately enforced.

A prime example of this was recently seen in Florida, where a bureaucratic mistake ultimately resulted in hundreds of concealed carry permits being revoked after it was discovered the applicants were never submitted for FBI background checks, according to Fox News.

This happened because a state government employee who was tasked with submitting concealed carry permit applicants through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System allegedly failed to do so for about a year as she claimed she was unable to log in to the system.

The Tampa Bay Times reported that the gross oversight that could have allowed felons, drug addicts, domestic abusers and other prohibited persons to obtain a concealed carry permit was discovered by another employee in March 2017 and ultimately uncovered by an inspector general investigation.

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The employee, who has since been fired, claimed to have initially reported to superiors that she was unable to log in to the NICS system in April 2016, but never heard anything back and never followed up on the matter herself.

Instead, she proceeded to process applications using only the Florida Crime Information Center database and National Crime Information Center database, which could have missed “non-criminal disqualifying offenses” that would likely have been reported by the NICS system, according to Aaron Keller, spokesman for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which oversees the concealed weapons permitting process.

This came at a time when Florida was flooded by a surge of applications for concealed carry permits, and the employee claimed she felt under pressure to quickly approve applications to prevent a massive backlog.

“The integrity of our department’s licensing program is our highest priority,” Keller said.

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“As soon as we learned that one employee failed to review applicants’ non-criminal disqualifying information, we immediately terminated the employee, thoroughly reviewed every application potentially impacted, and implemented safeguards to prevent this from happening again,” he added.

The scandalous development has not been a good look for Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who is running for governor as a Republican in part on his strong support of the Second Amendment, which includes streamlining the process for obtaining a concealed carry permit.

According to WKMG, Putnam released a statement making it clear that all applications that were processed during the time in question underwent some form of criminal background check, and noted that the ones which hadn’t been processed through NICS had been re-checked, which resulted in hundreds of revocations.

“It was the responsibility of this employee to review the 365 applications that did not pass the NICS system and the Inspector General’s investigation determined she failed to do her job,” said Putnam, who called the responsible employee “deceitful.”

“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.”

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“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,” he added. “While the Office of Inspector General’s investigation was ongoing, the department adopted safeguards into the application review process to ensure this never happens again.”

This incident is further proof that all of the laws in the world matter little if they are not properly enforced by government bureaucrats and employees.

Thankfully this oversight was caught and corrected and the responsible individuals are being held accountable, because despite the rhetoric from the left, gun rights proponents don’t want those who are federally prohibited from owning weapons to be approved for concealed carry permits.

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Ben Marquis is a writer who identifies as a constitutional conservative/libertarian. He has written about current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. His focus is on protecting the First and Second Amendments.
Ben Marquis has written on current events and politics for The Western Journal since 2014. He reads voraciously and writes about the news of the day from a conservative-libertarian perspective. He is an advocate for a more constitutional government and a staunch defender of the Second Amendment, which protects the rest of our natural rights. He lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, with the love of his life as well as four dogs and four cats.
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