Jolted by Commissioner Adam Putnam’s admission that his Department of Agriculture (DACS) issued hundreds of concealed carry permits to ineligible applicants, and the subsequent failure to immediately disclose the breach until news reports appeared Friday, state Senators Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) and Kevin Rader (D-Delray Beach) on Monday called for a special Senate investigation. [Read more…] about Senators Stewart and Rader call for independent Senate investigation into Commissioner Putnam’s agency background check failure
Commissioner Adam Putnam
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today held a media availability to correct widespread misinformation regarding the concealed weapon license program.
EXCERPTS FROM COMMISSIONER ADAM PUTNAM’S REMARKS: [Read more…] about ICYMI: Commissioner Adam Putnam Sets Record Straight on Concealed Weapon Licenses
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 because an employee could not log into the FBI crime database, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Please see the following statement from Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam in response to today’s Tampa Bay Times article on the concealed weapon licensing program:
“To be clear, a criminal background investigation was completed on every single application. Upon discovery of this former employee’s negligence in not conducting the further review required on 365 applications, we immediately completed full background checks on those 365 applications, which resulted in 291 revocations. The former employee was both deceitful and negligent, and we immediately launched an investigation and implemented safeguards to ensure this never happens again.”
The American Democracy Legal Fund today called for Gov. Rick Scott to immediately open an independent investigation following a report in the Tampa Bay Times that the state of Florida approved tens of thousands of applications for concealed weapons permits without performing a rigorous background check, allowing people with dangerous intentions or mental health problems to carry a gun in public.
Demands background checks be re-run by FDLE to protect Floridians’ safety
State Senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) on Friday called on Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam to immediately resign following the disclosure that his agency failed to conduct national background checks, allowing possibly dangerous individuals to obtain concealed carry permits.
She also called for the background checks to be handed off to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and for those under question to be re-run through the FBI’s crime database.
“I am extremely alarmed at the failure by Commissioner Putnam to disclose that his agency had failed to conduct these critical background checks – allowing possibly mentally disturbed individuals and others who should be disqualified, to be legally armed in Florida,” said Stewart. “I’m equally alarmed that officials from his agency tried to conceal the lax oversight by pushing legislation to cover up that failure, and downplayed the real reasons for the bill.
“He needs to resign.”
During the 2018 legislative session, Senator Stewart said that officials from Putnam’s agency came to her office to push for passage of legislation that would have required concealed permits to be approved if the applications had lingered.
Asked about why such a move was necessary, the Senator said that Putnam’s representatives downplayed the motives, insisting that it was more of a housekeeping move, and not a big deal.
That provision was only pulled from consideration following the Parkland massacre.
“These are the kinds of tricks that cannot be tolerated,” said Senator Stewart. “Lives were put in jeopardy by their attempts to conceal what had actually happened, and remain in danger now because of their ineptitude. This process needs to be immediately taken over by FDLE and these applications need to be re-examined.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services failed to run applicants for concealed carry permits through the FBI crime database for more than a year because an employee of the agency could not log in.
The failure means that those individuals who should have been barred from receiving a permit due to disqualifying backgrounds, such as a mental illness, were never flagged.
“Adam Putnam isn’t just a self-proclaimed “proud NRA-sellout,” he’s a downright danger to Floridians and should drop out of the race for Governor and resign from his position as Commissioner of Agriculture immediately. At best, Putnam’s actions display gross negligence and incompetence: he is totally unfit for our State’s highest office. But today’s revelations go deeper than lack of oversight and have made it clear that as far as Adam Putnam is concerned, our safety can easily be bought and sold to the highest bidder – or the special interest group with the deepest pockets.
Adam Putnam has allowed those mentally or criminally unfit to carry a concealed weapon to do so freely – a horrifying fact made worse with the understanding that this year-plus lapse came during the biggest spike in permit applications in the history of our state, and the Pulse nightclub tragedy.
Floridians deserve better.
Unlike Adam Putnam, I cannot be bought and sold. I believe in gun control and commonsense gun reform laws that firmly keep our Second Amendment rights intact without compromising the safety of our citizens, by ensuring guns are kept out of the hands of those who should not have them. And I cannot be swayed by special interests. I am a self-made man committed to using my unparalleled experience to benefit Floridians of every age, race, religion and socioeconomic level – starting with the most basic task of ensuring safety for our communities. I am committed to ensuring my own three young sons, and each and every child in our great state, to grow up without fear of gun violence. We may have different ideas on exactly how to get there, but we should ALL be able to agree that keeping guns out of the hands of criminals and those who are mentally ill is the right thing to do. It is clear that Adam Putnam’s judgement has been compromised quite literally at our expense.”
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam today hosted a hurricane preparedness round table discussion in Fort Myers.
Among the participants were: Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto, Representative Dane Eagle, Lee County Undersheriff Carmine Marceno, Fort Myers Fire Chief John Caufield, Lee County Commission Chair Cecil Pendergrass, Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane, Lee County Emergency Management Director Lee Mayfield, Lee County Assistant Manager Christine Brady, Fort Myers Fire Department Emergency Management Specialist Judith Hartwell, and Major Glenn Kramer with the Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement.
Following Subtropical Storm Alberto, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam is reminding Floridians to prepare for the 2018 hurricane season, which officially begins June 1. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts another above-average hurricane season.
“As Floridians, we understand the threat of hurricane season all too well,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “It’s imperative that Floridians have a plan in place to protect their families, homes and businesses this hurricane season. Floridians should take advantage of the hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday that begins June 1.”
Floridians can take the following steps to prepare for the 2018 hurricane season:
- Have a Plan: Know what you and your family will do in an emergency. Research the locations of hurricane shelters and find out if you can take your pet. Make sure everyone in your house knows the plan and where your emergency supplies are stored.
- Prepare a Kit: Keep a kit stocked with emergency supplies. This should include a three-day supply of food and water for each family member. Plan for one gallon of water per person per day. Supplies should also include: cash, blankets and sleeping bags, first-aid kits, battery-powered radios, flashlights and extra batteries, clothing, necessary medications, pet care, a list of important phone numbers and important documents stored in waterproof containers.
- Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date on the latest weather information. Watch local news and weather, listen for radio updates or stay informed with your computer or smartphone.
In addition to these tips, it is crucial to have an adequate supply of food and water during a disaster.
- Keep an appliance thermometer in your fridge and freezer to provide an accurate temperature reading even if the power is out. A freezer should be at or below 0°F and the fridge at 40°F.
- Store food on shelves high enough that it will not be contaminated in case of flood.
- Have coolers on hand to keep food cold if the power is out more than four hours. Keep the fridge and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
- Discard perishables, such as meat, fish, cheese, milk, eggs, leftovers and deli items, if the power is out more than four hours.
- Use bottled water if you are concerned about your water supply. If you don’t have bottled water, boil water and let it cool before storing to drink.
During an emergency, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services provides necessary food and water to affected areas and helps protect animals and pets. The department’s Florida Forest Service is responsible for incident management and assists emergency responders in clearing debris and distributing supplies. Additionally, the department’s Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement provides law enforcement services to police departments and county sheriff’s offices as necessary.
For more information and tips on hurricane preparedness, visit FloridaDisaster.org.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.
Ahead of this Memorial Day weekend, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam is providing Floridians and visitors simple tips to avoid identity-stealing card skimmers placed on gas pumps.
“Floridians and visitors shouldn’t have to worry about losing their hard-earned money to scammers who prey on victims at gas pumps. A few simple steps can help prevent identity theft,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam.
Travelers can take the following steps to avoid skimmers at gas stations:
- Pay in cash inside the store to ensure credit card information stays safe.
- Check to make sure the gas pump dispenser cabinet is closed and has not been tampered with.
- Use a gas pump closer to the front of the store. Thieves often place skimmer at the gas pumps farther away from the store so they are not noticed as quickly.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card. Credit cards have better fraud protection, and the money is not deducted immediately from an account.
- If using a debit card at the pump, choose to run it as a credit card instead of putting a PIN number in. That way, the PIN number is safe.
- Monitor bank accounts regularly to spot any unauthorized charges.
- Consumers who suspect their credit card number has been compromised should report it immediately to authorities and their credit card company.
Consumers who suspect that a gas pump has been tampered with should contact the gas station manager, local law enforcement or the department’s consumer protection and information hotline at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832).
The department regularly inspects gas stations and analyzes samples of petroleum products to ensure consumers are being offered quality products at a fair measure. For more information, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.