Concealed Weapon Licenses Fast-Tracked For Military By State of Florida
By Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida // July 28, 2015
Brevard among counties accepting applications
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Florida, which already has the most concealed-weapon licenses in the nation, is now fast-tracking the process for active-duty military members and honorably discharged veterans.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced Monday that active and retired service members will immediately begin to get top priority when applying for the licenses.
The expedited process is part of the state’s reaction to a shooting rampage in Tennessee in which four Marines and a sailor were killed on July 16.
The announcement expands upon an executive order issued July 18 by Gov. Rick Scott. The executive order included a requirement that preference be given to members of the Florida National Guard when applying for concealed-weapon licenses.
The order also directed Adjutant Gen. Michael Calhoun to temporarily move National Guard members from six “storefront” recruitment centers to armories and to work with local law-enforcement agencies to arrange regular security checks of armories.
“The men and women who serve and have served our country deserve all of the support we can provide,” Putnam said in a prepared statement.
Putnam expanded the license fast-tracking to include all military members.
Active members of the military are advised to include copies of their Common Access Cards or other forms of official military identification with their applications. Veterans have to file copies of their DD 214 long forms with their applications to get fast-tracked.
The state agency hasn’t estimated how many members of the military and veterans will take advantage of the expedited process, said Putnam spokeswoman Jennifer Meale.
Currently, there are more than 1.41 million concealed-weapon licenses issued in Florida, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which administers the program.
The state went over the 1 million mark in December 2012, becoming the first state in the nation to surpass that figure.
Pennsylvania, which does not post its concealed-weapon numbers, has reportedly joined Florida in surpassing the 1 million mark.
According to a 2014 study from the Pennsylvania-based Crime Prevention Research Center, Texas has issued the third most concealed-carry permits among the states.
There were 825,957 concealed-carry permits in Texas as of Dec. 31, 2014, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Meanwhile, Florida lawmakers in 2014 made it more convenient to apply for a concealed-carry licenses by allowing county tax collectors’ offices to accept applications.
So far, 13 offices — Brevard, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Marion, Martin, Nassau, Okaloosa, Pasco, Pinellas, St. Johns and Walton –accept the applications.
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