Washington, D.C., July 11, 2018 – Following new revelations that Florida Agricultural Commissioner and leading Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam misled the public regarding hundreds of mishandled concealed carry permits in his state, leading gun safety advocates called for his resignation from office. The Brady Campaign and Center to Prevent Gun Violence demanded that Commissioner Putnam immediately step down from his position and end his campaign, citing the reports as proof that he cannot be trusted to keep his constituents safe.
“This debacle has been an absolute failure of leadership by Adam Putnam since the start,” stated Kris Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign and Center. “At this point, how can we or anyone else take anything Putnam says about his leadership or his ‘investigation’ seriously? The only option at this point is for Putnam to resign and end his campaign for governor immediately. The people of Florida deserve real accountability and leadership, and Adam Putnam has simply failed to provide it.”
Last month, the Tampa Bay Times reported for the first time that Putnam’s office had allowed concealed carry permits to be approved without performing background checks for more than a year because “the employee in charge of the background checks could not log into the system.” During that time frame, the Times reported, the state saw a record number of concealed carry applicants. While Putnam, who refers to himself as a “proud NRA sellout” and has attacked the original reporting without disproving its findings, has stated that all the applications were properly reviewed, a new report from POLITICO reveals that his office mishandled and mischaracterized the investigation. “The additional records,” POLITICO reports, “now outline that the investigation into improperly reviewed conceal carry gun permits included key inaccuracies, and that Putnam’s office dragged its feet when receiving requests for further records.”
“This complete breakdown was a disaster for the people of Florida in the first place, and it’s stunning that Adam Putnam has allowed it to somehow become even worse,” added Brady co-president Avery Gardiner. “This can’t be allowed to go on even a minute longer. Adam Putnam cannot be trusted to keep the people of Florida safe, and it’s time for him to go.”
This past week, the Brady Center, alongside the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for all documents related to the concealed carry permitting process from 2016 to the present, so as to better assess what may have transpired. Results of the FOIA request will be made public as they become available.
“Adam Putnam’s candidacy for governor of Florida - not to mention his tenure as Agriculture Commissioner - has already been a disaster, but this is simply appalling,” stated Carol Conyne Rescigno, President of the Sarasota County chapter of the Brady Campaign. “This was a mess before the investigation began, and now it’s grown even worse. We deserve and demand better from our leaders.”
Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in the common sense. In the spirit of our founders Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 25 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.