Adam Putnam, a "proud NRA sellout
" and a Republican candidate for governor, is attempting to drum up votes for the upcoming election by rewriting Florida's concealed weapons law, a move that would allow literally anyone to get a permit without a complete background check.
According to the Tampa Bay Times
, the bill's sponsor, Republican Senator Kelli Stargel of Lakeland, said Putnam asked for the the provision, which was tucked away at the very bottom of a 114-page bill that mostly dealt with routine business like oyster farming and liquified gas.
Basically, Putnam's provision would give the Department of Agriculture 90 days after receiving a concealed weapons application to issue a permit, even "if the department has not acquired final disposition or proof of restoration of civil and firearm rights, or confirmation that clarifying records are not available."
The bill, which is currently moving through the House, also says the permit would be revoked if disqualifying info was later found.
Obviously, Florida Republicans, who overwhelming voted for the bill, argue the change is about restoring 2nd Amendment rights. "We’re talking about a fundamental right, and the state of Florida doesn’t get to deny someone’s rights indefinitely,” said Eric Friday of the pro-gun group Florida Carry to the Times.
However, this provision is in complete contrast to Putnam's statement from earlier this week. When asked if he supports an upcoming vote that would allow felon's right to be restored, which would include the right to bear arms and the right to vote, he stated that violent criminals should be exempt.
OK. So, which is it?
If the state isn't going to perform complete background checks on potential gun buyers, then they're clearly opening the door for domestic abusers, sexual assailants, or any other violent criminal willing to wait 90 days for a concealed carry permit.
Jason Lindsay, executive director and founder of the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence issued a statement today, pointing out the irony in Putnam's decision. "It’s ironic that Florida is debating whether convicted felons who have served their time may be able to vote, and yet lawmakers are comfortable taking a chance that criminals will be able to acquire guns. Florida Republicans have their priorities backwards," said Lindsay.
Perhaps Putnam believes that ex-cons can be trusted with guns, but just not voting.