NEWS FROM THE STATE CAPITAL: Florida Guard Reopens Recruiting Centers
By Jim Turner, The News Service of Florida // August 18, 2015
'I will continue to do everything in my power to protect our military members here in Florida'
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Florida National Guard recruiters returned Monday to “storefront” locations for the first time since being pulled out in the wake of a shooting rampage that left four Marines and a sailor dead last month in Tennessee.
“The guardsmen inside are actively and proudly recruiting new heroes,” National Guard Adjutant Gen. Michael Calhoun said in a release from the governor’s office.
Gov. Rick Scott noted in the release that the recruitment centers have upgraded security, including the arming of guard members.
“I will continue to do everything in my power to protect our military members here in Florida,” Scott said in a release.
“I hope President Obama is taking notice of what we are doing in Florida, and that he takes similar actions to ensure every branch of our military is protected across our nation.”
The centers are located in Brandon, Jacksonville, Miami, Orange Park, Orlando and Temple Terrace.
Other new security measures include the assignment of additional armed security officers and unspecified infrastructure enhancements at each of the six locations.
Scott commended Calhoun for quickly enacting the new security measures.
Guard members involved with recruiting were relocated to armories and Calhoun was directed to work with local law-enforcement agencies to arrange for regular security checks of the armories under an executive order signed by Scott on July 18. The order came two days after a gunman opened fire at a military-recruiting center and a Navy Reserve facility in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Scott’s order said it was possible improvements at the centers could include installing bulletproof glass and enhancing video-surveillance equipment.
At the time, Scott also said he wanted to fast-track the process for members of the National Guard to obtain concealed-weapons licenses.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose agency administers concealed-weapons licenses, announced July 27 that all active-duty members of the military and honorably discharged veterans would be moved to the front of the line when seeking licenses.
Since that time, 2,627 concealed-weapon license applications have been expedited, Putnam spokeswoman Jennifer Meale said in an email Monday.
Currently, there are more than 1.41 million concealed-weapons licenses issued in Florida, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.