For more than a year, the state of Florida failed to conduct national background checks on tens of thousands of applications for concealed weapons permits, potentially allowing all kinds of ineligible people to be approved.
Just as Florida was flooded with concealed carry applications after the Pulse nightclub massacre, the department that approves them stopped using a FBI crime database called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System -- something that flags any disqualifying history in other states.
The employee in charge of the background checks could not log into the system, the investigator learned. The problem went unresolved until discovered by another worker in March 2017 — meaning that for more than a year applications got approved without the required background check.
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. There were 134,000 requests for permits in the fiscal year ending in June 2015. The next 12 months broke a record, 245,000 applications, which was topped again in 2017 when the department received 275,000 applications.
Department employees interviewed for the report called the NICS checks "extremely important." Concealed weapons licenses "may have been issued to potentially ineligible individuals." If it came out they weren't conducted, "this could cause an embarrassment to the agency," the report said.
Imagine. Potentially, they could have approved permits for countless criminals -- but they're worried about "embarrassment" to the agency.
I guess it never occurred to them to fix the problem.
By the way, Adam Putnam, the Republican in charge of the agency, is running for governor. Perfect!