Exactly how many? According to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida experienced a record surge of applications for concealed weapons permits in three separate years: (1) 134,000 such requests in 2015; (2) 245,000 requests in 2016; and 275,000 requests in 2017. Perhaps no better example of this fact is a recent report that shows the state of Florida stopped running non-criminal concealed carry background checks on hundreds of individuals because the employee in charge of this necessary precaution could not log in to the National Instant Criminal background Check System. "I should have been doing it and I didn't", she said.
Meanwhile, the Times writes that Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has pushed to speed up the process of issuing concealed weapons permits-from 12 weeks to just 35 days-since he was elected to office in 2010. "Putnam's gross mismanagement of the concealed carry system likely put guns into the hands of the wrong people and put the lives of thousands of Floridians at risk", said FDP chair Terrie Rizzo in a statement.
In March 2017 - over a year later - an employee with the Bureau of Licensing realized the NICS records were not being reviewed. Now, he said, there are more "eyeballs" making sure the work is complete and a "more seamless technology transfer" of the NICS background check results. While she initially contacted the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) in an attempt to resolve the issue, this effort was short-lived, as she never made a follow-up call after a brief email exchange.
Putnam's office told the Times that the employee was "immediately terminated" after another employee discovered the situation and that every application potentially impacted was "thoroughly reviewed".
Background checks on permits were still carried out through two other databases, the Florida Crime Information Center database and the National Crime Information Center database.
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.
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.
We responded to the email from Putnam's office, asking why the commissioner didn't immediately publicly address the investigation after it was finished previous year. Ultimately, 291 permits were revoked.
The Tampa Bay Times first reported on the inspector general's report.
"I didn't understand why I was put in charge of it", she told the Tampa Bay Times. Florida Democrats say the "damning and disturbing" report from the Times should disqualify the Republican from being governor.
Since 2003, Florida has housed concealed weapons permitting under the Department of Agriculture.
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.