Rick Scott’s office says it wasn’t provided investigation into failure to background check concealed weapons permits

Rick Scott (right) got credit for a $25 million in loans for struggling citrus growers. Putnam said that doesn't bother him. "This is a team effort," Putnam said. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
Rick Scott (right) got credit for a $25 million in loans for struggling citrus growers. Putnam said that doesn't bother him. "This is a team effort," Putnam said. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
Published June 8 2018
Updated June 8 2018

A spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott said the governor hadn't previously received a state investigative report that detailed a year-long lapse in federal background checks on concealed weapons permits.

The Tampa Bay Times reported Friday that an inspector general investigation found that from February 2016 through March 2017, the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services didn't run concealed weapons permit applications through a FBI database that flags drug addicts and people with mental illness.

The employee in charge of the background checks had problems logging into the system and for more than a year neglected to find a solution, investigators reported. The employee told the Times the department was overwhelmed for requests for permits and she was not qualified to be in charge of the background checks.

"Our office was not provided this report from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Inspector General." spokesman McKinley Lewis said. He declined to answer follow up questions.

Scott, a Republican, is running for U.S. Senate. The statement appears to place the blame for the lax oversight squarely on Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a fellow cabinet member and Republican who is running for governor to replace Scott.

DEMOCRATS RESPOND: Putnam 'failed,' 'resign,' 'drop out'

The gap in federal background checks came during an historic increase in applications for permits. Putnam's office said it revoked 291 permits in the aftermath of the investigations.

Read the full Tampa Bay Times story here.

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