Press Release

Peter Ambler Reacts to Reports of Florida Commissioner of Agriculture’s Failure to Conduct Background Checks for Concealed Weapons Permits

For more than a year, potentially dangerous people were granted the ability to carry concealed loaded guns in Florida

June 8, 2018 — Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, issued the following statement regarding reports that Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam negligently issued hundreds of thousands of concealed weapons permits without conducting proper background checks.

Statement from Peter Ambler, Executive Director of Giffords

“Adam Putnam failed at his greatest responsibility: preventing dangerous people from carrying concealed, loaded guns in public. Due to his reckless mismanagement, an unknown number of potentially dangerous people are walking the streets of Florida and, because of reciprocity agreements, many others states with guns, threatening the safety of our communities. Putnam, who has accepted thousands from the NRA and has declared himself a ‘proud NRA sellout,’ has no place in a race to lead Florida if he can’t manage the basics when it comes to public safety.

“This revelation also further damages the NRA’s case for its top political priority, mandated concealed carry reciprocity, which would force every state to accept Florida’s flawed concealed carry permits. Speaker Ryan and Republicans in Congress should be held accountable for passing this dangerous legislation.”

According to the Florida Office of Inspector General, Putnam’s office failed to access the National Instant Criminal Background Check System from February 2016 until March 2017. During that time period, hundreds of thousands of applicants applied for concealed carry weapons permits without any of them receiving denials for their application. Putnam’s lack of action in conducting proper background checks means an unknown number of disqualified Floridians may have obtained a concealed weapons permit during this time period.

A previous investigative report by the Sun Sentinel in 2007 found that the Florida Department of Agriculture had issued concealed weapons permit to over 1,400 individuals who have pled guilty or no contest to felonies, 216 individuals with outstanding warrants, 28 people with active domestic violence injunctions, and six registered sex offenders.

Learn more about the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.