Florida Revokes Hundreds of Gun Permits After Background Check Error

| June 10, 2018 | 59 Comments


Fox News reports firearm permits were revoked from hundreds of Florida residents after the state’s agricultural commissioner said that a “deceitful” employee was unable to log in to the background check system for over a year.

Tens of thousands of permit applications went unchecked because of the error, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

In a statement, Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam said that 291 gun licenses were ultimately revoked from state residents.

The employee responsible for the lapse was fired, according to News 6 in Orlando.

“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 Times reported.

Putnam is running for Florida governor with a campaign that touts his expansion of concealed carry permits. More than 1.9 million people are licensed to carry concealed weapons in Florida.

291 disapproved background checks out of “tens of thousands” submitted sounds remarkably low to me. Why are we doing these again? Oh, that’s right- to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. We all know how well THAT works.

Category: "Teh Stoopid"

Comments (59)

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  1. Hondo says:

    OK, I gotta ask: why the picture of an AR-class rifle if the issue was with a state government employee allowing the issue of invalid concealed carry permits?

    Kinda hard to conceal and carry an AR. And if you’re not carrying concealed, last time I checked you don’t need a concealed carry permit.

  2. Sparks says:


  3. IDC SARC says:

    an “error”….i don’t think that means what they think it means

  4. OWB says:

    So 291 law abiding citizens (at least law abiding enough to actually apply for the license) are paying the price for the incompetent and/or corrupt bureaucrat? Sounds about right.

    Is FL shall issue or may issue?

    • Hondo says:

      Pretty sure FL is a shall issue state. But one does have to meet the requirements specified in FL law to receive a concealed carry permit. At a quick look, they seem to be very similar to if not identical with the requirements under Federal law to purchase a firearm. You also have to provide fingerprints, a photo, and pay the required fees.

      I’m guessing that the 291 who were revoked didn’t qualify under FL law to receive a concealed carry permit, but were issued one in error due to the fired employee’s malfeasance/dereliction of duty.

      I’m reasonably certain that more than 291 FL residents apply for a concealed carry permit in any given 12 month period. (smile)

      • OWB says:

        Depending upon the total number of applications, 291 might not be an unreasonable number having simple errors and disqualifying circumstances. Especially if that number really was “tens of thousands.”

        • Hondo says:

          Could be that also, OWB. Or a combo of that and those trying to “pull a fast one”. Dunno.

          The form FL uses asks similar questions to the 4473. Those questions are pretty binary, and the form’s instructions are fairly good. The eligibility criteria are pretty cut and dried; so if anyone submitted a form with an obvious “showstopper” answer I frankly question their intelligence.

          In any case, under FL law it appears those 291 permits shouldn’t have been issued at all. FL law requires those who are refused a permit to be notified in writing regarding the reason why and given a chance to appeal. It doesn’t say, “Go ahead and issue the permit; we’ll sort that out later.”

          The “tens of thousands” number is indeed plausible. One individual, expected to process one application each 5 min on average while at work, would be able to process over 23,000 in a single work year. See my comment to Tallywhagger below for details. And 5 min on average seems somewhat generous to look over a form for obvious “showstoppers”, then enter a name and SSN into a database query and get a “GO/NO GO” answer.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      Yes, FL is a Shall Issue State.

      • OWB says:

        Thanks. Just being lazy here and didn’t feel like looking it up when I asked earlier.

        Our counties do the investigations here. They have to complete it within a specified timeframe or issue it, as I understand it. Seems that most do a good job of it, but some push the limits just because they think they can get by with it. Know of one case where a retired LEO with zero disqualifiers was given the run around for no reason at all. That case very early ended up in court.

  5. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    JEEZUZ… and the left wonders why the current laws on the books “don’t work”? This should be example #1 thrown back in their faces.

    I hate the technocrats that run government agencies….

    • David says:

      Careful with that, you are also providing them with an excuse for passing more bullshit laws… because what is on the books doesn’t work and more is needed. Two edged sword, that. I agree with you in spirit, but we don’t need to make them any gifts, either.

  6. Hondo says:

    On the plus side: it shows that people in FL who apply for concealed carry licenses are generally smart enough to figure out if they’re eligible for a CC permit or not.

    Assuming that “tens of thousands” was at least 20,000, that means less than 1.46% of applicants were too dumb to read and understand the application. (smile)

  7. 26Limabeans says:

    We don’t need no stinkin permits.

  8. Tallywhagger says:

    Would it not be more prudent to simply redo the background searches first? If anyone shows up with a flag or exception then you deal with those cases, specifically.

    • Hondo says:

      As I’m reading it, that’s exactly what happened:

      1. A FL state employee lost their password to either NICS or a Florida state database performing a similar function.
      2. The employee then “pencil-whipped” applications for concealed carry permits for a period of over a year, without actually performing the necessary checks, until they got caught. The total processed by that individual isn’t clear, but the article says it was in the “tens of thousands”. That’s plausible if the individual was expected to process 1 application every 5 min – 12 per hour x 8 hrs per day x 240 workdays (5 days per week x 52 weeks – 10 holidays – 10 vacation days) totals over 23,000.
      3. The employee got fired.
      4. The state then rechecked the applications the fired employee pencil-whipped, found 291 that were invalid, and revoked the erroneously-issued concealed carry permits.

      This is actually a bigger deal than you might think. As I understand it, having a concealed carry license in FL dramatically streamlines the process of buying a firearm in that state – because supposedly a concealed carry permit holder has already undergone the required criminal history checks required to purchase a firearm. So for 12+ months, 291 individuals who couldn’t legally purchase a firearm could have walked into any gun store in FL and bought one with no problem.

      Designing a system to perform this kind of function is easy (here, “system” includes hardware/software/people/procedures). But designing one that can’t be circumvented by insider misconduct? That’s a different story entirely. Absent “two-man control” rules, I don’t think that’s possible. And even then, a sufficiently large conspiracy would allow misuse anyway.

      • David says:

        The ultimmate human goal is to design anything stupid-proof. So far, no luck.

        • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

          IMHO “Stupid-Proof” is as impossible as perpetual motion, as soon as one thinks they have something idiot-proof this World always provides an even bigger idiot, just look at some of the ones we have in Office in the Great Whorehouse on the Potomac River!

      • Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

        Hondo; I have a concealed permit in Florida and when I buy a handgun, I check all the boxes that I am legit after showing my permit. The store clerk calls ATF to make sure everything is kosher and I walk out with my purchase. Purchased 1 handgun before I got the permit and had the waiting period, but the next 5 with the permit were purchased over a few years, same day but had to wait for the XDE .09 to come in a week later from their supplier.

      • Mr. Pete says:

        They lost their password to the NICS system. Had the 291 tried to purchase a firearm the gun dealer running a NICS check would have prevented it.

      • Tallywhagger says:

        Yeah, I guess that makes sense that they ran all of them and only came up with 291 rejects.

        Somehow, I read the story with the idea that they were revoking everyone and starting over.

        The outcome speaks pretty well for the general population of Florida and also shows that the system actually works when properly applied and supervised.

        I wonder if Florida’s internal control audit folks have previous records of having tested the controls, at regular intervals. It doesn’t sound like something that ATF would have had any reason to examine.

        Anyone have any ideas about will become of the applicants who obtained permits, other than having them revoked and/or firearms acquired by use of the permits confiscated?

        In Massachusetts, or Maryland, the applicants would likely have been summarily executed on initial contact.

  9. RM3(SS) says:

    I just love the term “background check”
    It implies the kind of investigation that is done when you have a security clearance where they interview friends, family employers etc.
    In reality it’s only a criminal history check. I’ve run thousands of them. It shows if you’ve been arrested or convicted of any crimes. It is in no way a “background check” that would indicate your potential for criminality, it just shows if you’ve ever been caught before. But it sounds so warm and fuzzy. It’s important to keep people who shouldn’t have guns from getting them, but current statistics show that the vast majority of criminals obtain their weapons from other than legal sources. Call it what it is, a criminal history check.

  10. 26Limabeans says:

    “Agricultural Commissioner”

    Odd Department to be controlling permits.

    • AW1Ed says:

      Odder still is a cabal of unelected Staatspolizei who sit on a board, deciding if one has a “good and substantial reason” for a concealed carry license, a la the PDRofMD.

      The Second Amendment is my good and substantial reason. Maybe one day the PDRofMD will recognize that.

  11. m0311 says:

    I know a felon was caught with a pistol and he only got a year in prison for it. What’s the point?

  12. allen says:

    The original reporting by the Tampa Bay Times was sensationalist crap. ONE employee failed to upload 365 applications. Details: https://gunfreezone.net/index.php/2018/06/09/tampa-bay-times-fake-news-background-check-were-performed-after-all/

    • Hondo says:

      The article you linked isn’t that well written. But it appears to be generally correct, though a bit confusing.

      In “pulling the thread”, I’ve found links to a couple of other articles that lay out the details better. Time permitting, I’ll write up a short article on the matter.

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