TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Beginning in September, five Florida counties will allow gun owners to apply for concealed weapons licenses at some local tax collector's offices under a law passed during the 2014 legislative session.
Currently, Florida has more than one million concealed weapons licenses and the number is growing.
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) has eight regional field offices where gun owners can apply for the permits in person, but demand is so high that the wait has been several months for an appointment at some offices.
Additionally, many of the offices are more than an hour drive from home for some rural residents.
DACS spokesperson Erin Gillespie says the concealed carry permits will still be issues by the state. Having tax collectors gather information for residents is just more convenient for everyone involved.
"The tax collector offices will accept the applications, and do the fingerprinting and photographing of the applicants," said Gillespie. "But, the department still makes the final determination because you have to ensure that people are eligible. They have to pass a criminal background check."
The program began for residents of Indian River County this week, and tax collectors in Pinellas, Okaloosa, Nassau and Highlands counties will begin accepting applications by October. Ten more counties are expected to take part next year, and it is voluntary for tax collectors to take part in the program.