The tricky thing about background checks is that they don’t really help in keeping guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them unless you actually do the background checks.
Federal and state law enforcement has really been doing a terrible job with regard to guns. In Parkland, not only did sheriff’s deputies fail to respond to the school shooting, the FBI failed to follow up on a multitude of tips suggesting the shooter was dangerous. Now we discover that for a year, one state employee’s incompetence led to hundreds of concealed weapon permits being issued without the required background checks.
In Florida, Lisa Wilde, the state employee, responsible for doing background checks for concealed weapons permits stopped doing them for a year because of an unresolved login issue with NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System). This is according to a report but the Inspector General for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
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 drug addicts or people with a mental illness to carry firearms in public.
A previously unreported Office of Inspector General investigationfound that in February 2016 the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stopped using a FBI crime database called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System that ensures applicants who want to carry a gun do not have a 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.
The time period during which the background checks weren’t conducted includes the huge spike in concealed weapon permit applications following the terrorist attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
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.
365 permits were issued without checking NICS. After discovering Wilde’s negligence 291 of of those permits had to be revoked.
I am surprised that applications are in the hundreds of thousands and licenses are only issued in the hundreds. Are there that many cranks and criminals applying for permits?
What doesn’t surprise me is that a government agency allowed one employee to become the single point of failure for a critical function. The irony in all this is that the government’s incompetence in carrying out its supposed “common sense” gun restrictions is a great argument for why relying entirely on government to protect us from violent criminals is a terrible idea.
The IG report sustained the allegations of negligence against Wilde.
Wilde provided sworn testimony acknowledging that she is the current supervisor responsible for accessing the NICS checks daily and exporting the files to BLI. Wilde advised that it was approximately February 2016 since she last accessed NICS, and explained that she and James had a login issue and they were unable to access the database. Wilde stated that James was waiting on her (Wilde) to have the login issue fixed; however, she (Wilde) never followed up to resolve the issue. Wilde advised she never asked James to check the NICS after the login issue, and stated that James probably assumed the login issues were fixed and she (Wilde) was exporting the NICS
files. Wilde characterized her failure as negligent, and agreed it could cause an embarrassment to the agency.
The investigation concluded that the allegation against Lisa Wilde for Negligence is SUSTAINED.
Adam Putnam who currently heads up Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is currently running for governor. He is also an outspoken advocate for gun rights and an unapologetic defender of the NRA. This episode will almost certainly be hung around his neck as evidence of his failed leadership or even some sort of NRA conspiracy.