The media aren't getting it right and anti-gun Democrats don't want to get it right, Marion Hammer has said about claims that Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam's Division of Licensing left background checks on gun license applications undone.
"For some, it's all about attacking a candidate for political reasons," the National Rifle Association’s longtime lobbyist in Florida said in an "alert" sent Saturday to NRA members, "fellow sportsmen" and friends. "This issue is extremely important to all firearms owners and license holders. Truth and facts matter. ..."
Hammer continues to tell the story:
"The Division of Licensing under the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DOACS) did, in fact, do background checks on applicants for licenses to carry concealed weapons or firearms.
"Background checks were done through FCIC (Florida Criminal Information Computer system) and NCIC (Nation Criminal Information Computer system -- the national FBI fingerprint data base) and they also did a NICS check (National Instant Check System), which is the name-based background check system.
"The NICS system is the same system used by retail firearms dealers to do background checks when a person buys a firearm," she said.
Hammer said that during the time the employee failed to do her job, approximately 350,000 applicants for carry licenses were processed. Of those 350,000, 365 had a disqualifier based on the NICS background check.
The employee, she said, should have uploaded those 365 into the internal computer system to stop the processing of those applications. She did not. So those 365 applicants got their licenses anyhow.
"Although they got their licenses to CARRY firearms," Hammer explained, "they still would not have been allowed to purchase a firearm from a firearms dealer because the same NICS background check would have been performed by a dealer and would have stopped them from purchasing a firearm."
Hammer, who has always been on record as supporting background checks, said, "A license to carry does not exempt a person from the background check required when you purchase a firearm. The license ONLY exempts a license holder from the 3-day waiting period."
When the Division discovered the problem, she said, the employee was let go. The Division then ran new background checks on all 365 applicants who initially had NICS name-based disqualifiers. Of those 365, 74 were cleared and 291 still had disqualifiers, so their licenses to carry firearms were immediately suspended.
"Those are the facts," Hammer stated. "The facts don't fit narrative being pushed by the anti-gun, political opponents of the commissioner of agriculture, Adam Putnam, who is a candidate for governor.
"Feel free to forward this Alert to family members, friends and fellow sportsmen and firearms owners," she urged.