The former President of the National Rifle Association says the latest attack on Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s handling of the state’s concealed weapons permit program is “pure politics.”
The newest revelations come from an Associated Press report that claims problems with the program date back to 2012 and involved 48 employees of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Of those employees, one resigned, one was fired and others were suspended.
A 2012 state inspector general report found that an employee issued an armed security guard license to a convicted felon. According to AP story, the employee had repeatedly issued licenses to convicted felons as far back as 2008, before Putnam was elected agriculture commissioner. That employee resigned.
So why has the report now surfaced, six years after is was completed? It could be because Putnam is the front runner for the Republican nomination for Governor.
“This is pure politics,” past NRA President Marion Hammer tells FLA News. “Adam Putnam has done an excellent job of administering the program. He looks for problems and when he finds them he fixes them. He doesn’t run to the media or anybody else bragging about what he fixed, he just gets it done.”
This is the second revelation about the concealed weapons permit program in the past month. In June, the Tampa Bay Times incorrectly alleged that tens of thousands of permits were improperly issued. It turns out between 2016 and 2017, 291 permits were wrongly issued because a since-fired employee failed to review non-criminal background check reports. Those permits were revoked in 2017.
The 2012 internal report, according to Associated Press, found that one employee had a 13% error rate and even failed to review 99 applications.
A statement issued by the Agriculture Department’s Inspector General stated the department took action upon learning of the problem, held employees accountable and put in a series of checks and balances.