Molly Prince, DCNF
The state of Florida stopped conducting background checks on concealed carry weapons permits for over a year due to administrative issues logging into the system, while still granting tens of thousands of permits to applicants.
An investigation found that from February 2016 until March 2017 Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services did not run applicants through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), according to a report from the state’s Office of Inspector General. The crime database is the national system used to determine if applicants are legally qualified to purchase firearms or explosives.
The report found that by neglecting to run applicants through the NICS system prohibited possessors such as drug addicts or mentally ill individuals could have “legally” gain permits to carry firearms in public. However, it has not been conclusively determined just how many people were issued permits who would have otherwise been denied.
The was a record breaking boost in concealed carry permit applications during the same time, reports the Tampa Bay Times. With 245,000 permit requests, the fiscal year ending in June 2016 was more than an 80 percent increase over the prior year. The department received an additional 275,000 requests during the following 12 months. The spike may have in part been due to the Pulse Nightclub massacre, which occurred in June 2016.
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