Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose office also handles security guard licenses and concealed carry permits, says the Orlando shooter held security guard licenses that allowed him to carry firearms.
Putnam spoke Monday to a group of reporters outside the state’s Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.
The commissioner said Omar Mateen of Fort Pierce had a “D” license to work as a private “security officer,” and a “G” license that allowed him “to bear a firearm” statewide, the department’s website explains.
Mateen shot and killed 49 people in a gay nightclub in Orlando with an AR-15 assault rifle before being killed by police early Sunday morning. It was the deadliest mass shooting in Amercian history, with more than 50 others seriously injured.
Law enforcement has said Mateen called 911 during his attack to profess allegiance to the Islamic State terror group. But Mateen’s father also has said his son was incensed by the sight of two men kissing during a recent visit to Miami.
As much as it could have, the system worked, Putnam seemed to suggest. Mateen was first licensed in 2007 and was renewed several times later.
The massacre will forever be “a dark stain in Florida’s history,” Putnam said. But he added all of Mateen’s various applications were “in order,” including his criminal background checks and mental health evaluations.
“There’s nothing in the record that would have disqualified this individual, a U.S. citizen with a clean criminal record,” he told reporters.
But Putnam declined to say whether the FBI had alerted his department of any concerns about Mateen over the last few years. “All of the normal safeguards were completed,” he said.
Putnam also declined to release any records on Mateen, saying they were “fairly rich with data” federal investigators still need to go through.
When asked whether the incident had changed his own views on guns, Putnam didn’t answer directly.
He said the shooting was a “painful reminder of how-U.S. born individuals, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, can harbor an ideology so dark that they’re capable of using the freedoms and liberties that this country awards all of our citizens for the darkest possible motives.”
And when asked to clarify if, in fact, he thought the system worked, Putnam didn’t answer.