The media is reporting that Florida is leading the nation and has now become the first state to have 2 million active concealed carry license holders. This is despite the irregularities and allegations of unlawful activities in the Commissioner of Agriculture’s office that slow and delay the issuance of licenses.
For the first time, since the “Right-to-Carry” legislation passed, the agency is being run by an anti-gun Commissioner of Agriculture. Some are accusing the Agency, under the current Commissioner, of unlawfully regulating and suppressing the number of licenses being issued.
The Agency is prohibited, specifically by statute, from adopting regulations or implementing policies to diminish the right of law abiding citizens to get licenses, but the law doesn’t seem to deter the current Commissioner and her anti-gun, anti-self defense, hand picked, upper-level staff.
Mr. Eric Friday, a Jacksonville attorney and General Counsel for Florida Carry, reported today that,
“Despite the claims by the Commissioner there is ample evidence that the process for issuing Concealed Weapon Firearm License is not going as smoothly as she claims.”
“Florida Carry, Inc. has evidence that the Commissioner and her department are engaged in several processes to slow or delay Floridians’ ability to exercise their right to bear arms. These include using ‘secret’ evidence that the applicants and their lawyers are not allowed to see and refusing to grant formal evidence-based hearings as a matter of routine.”
“The department is also refusing to approve licenses based on decades old arrests that are not disqualifying and using other states’ (California and New Jersey among others) failure to respond to requests for records as a basis to indefinitely delay the issuance of licenses.”
“I am currently representing two clients regarding actions taken by the Department to deprive them of licenses without due process and based on information the Department knew or should have known was not reliable.”
When the “Right-to-Carry” law passed, the legislature included a special section in the law to protect the rights of Florida citizens against anti-gun activities by the agency that implements the concealed carry law. The law is apparently being ignored by the Commissioner.
Florida Statutes 790.06 (2)(15) reads:
(15) The Legislature finds as a matter of public policy and fact that it is necessary to provide statewide uniform standards for issuing licenses to carry concealed weapons and firearms for self-defense and finds it necessary to occupy the field of regulation of the bearing of concealed weapons or firearms for self-defense to ensure that no honest, law-abiding person who qualifies under the provisions of this section is subjectively or arbitrarily denied his or her rights. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall implement and administer the provisions of this section. The Legislature does not delegate to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services the authority to regulate or restrict the issuing of licenses provided for in this section, beyond those provisions contained in this section. Subjective or arbitrary actions or rules which encumber the issuing process by placing burdens on the applicant beyond those sworn statements and specified documents detailed in this section or which create restrictions beyond those specified in this section are in conflict with the intent of this section and are prohibited. This section shall be liberally construed to carry out the constitutional right to bear arms for self-defense. This section is supplemental and additional to existing rights to bear arms, and nothing in this section shall impair or diminish such rights.
RELATED ARTICLE: Florida Now Has 2 Million Valid Concealed Weapon Licenses
EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.