TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida concealed weapons license applications have climbed to record numbers this year, and officials with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are working to shorten the time it takes for applicants to receive their licenses.

In October, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services received its highest number of concealed weapons license applications in state history with 38,349 new CWL applications, along with 8,590 renewal applications. 

While an increase is typical during an election year, that’s more than double the average of the past two years.

In 2018, FDACS received a monthly average of 15,741 new CWL applications. In 2019, the state received a monthly average of 16,891 new applications.

This year, the department projected to process a record 305,043 new applications and 143,749 renewal applications— a staggering increase from 2018 and 2019, when FDACS received a total of 188,900 and 202,698 new CWL applications, respectively.

Along with Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the Division of Licensing reduced initial review times for new applications by nearly 98 percent. Now, the review time for applications in verification for those with a criminal record is 42 days, and applications in processing for those without a criminal history is 43 days.

“Upon taking office, I assured Floridians that our state’s concealed weapons licensing would become not only more efficient but more accountable,” Fried said in a statement. “With record-high application volume, we’re processing more than 10,000 concealed weapons license applications each week, but we know increased wait times can be frustrating. That’s why we’re hiring more staff and further streamlining our processes to reduce both application review times and customer service times.”