TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) - Florida has fast-tracked concealed weapons licenses to 82,000 active-duty military members and honorably discharged veterans since a terror-related shooting at a pair of military installations in Tennessee two years ago.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who along with Governor Rick Scott helped expedite the permitting process as part of the state’s reaction to the Chattanooga shootings, on Tuesday highlighted the effort that has helped bolster Florida’s nation leading number of concealed-firearm permits.
Since Putnam first won statewide office in 2010, the number of concealed-firearms permits has exploded from around 800 thousand to more than 1.78 million.
The milestone in active-duty military members and veterans getting expedited permits comes as the state has seen “heavy” demand for concealed-carry licenses, according to Putnam.
"This is just one example of what we do through our department to make Florida the most veteran and military friendly state in the nation," said Putnam.
The fast-tracking for members of the national guard and other military members, who don’t have to wait until they’re 21 years of age as do other civilian applicants, was established as part of Florida’s reaction to the July 16, 2015 terrorist-motivated shootings in Chattanooga that resulted in the deaths of four Marines, a Navy sailor and the gunman.
“When I look at the firearms training, the discipline and the character of the 82,000 men and women who have served this country, and continue to serve this country, they are a force multiplier for law enforcement," Putnam asserted.
Florida also upgraded security at National Guard recruitment centers, including the arming of guard members.
During his appearance at the armory, Putnam noted the Legislature “continues to wrestle with the right way to get there” when asked about allowing concealed-weapon permit holders to carry a firearm on college and university campuses or to openly carry their handguns.