TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried says she inherited a huge problem with the licensing process for people who apply for concealed weapons permits in Florida.
“When I took office in January, we, unfortunately, inherited a mess. The previous administration has some serious failures of oversight of applications among other issues,” said Fried.
Under Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam a backlog of applications existed and state employees stopped using an important F.B.I. database as part of the background check process.
Fried says those problems have now been corrected.
“We’ve cut the time to review clean applications with no red flags from 50 days in January, down to 1,” said Fried.
Her office has added 25 full-time staff members in the division of licensing and she placed a former judge in charge of the division for better oversight.
Kevin West is the managing partner of West Armory in Dade city and says when he applied for his concealed weapons permit in 2010, the process was much different.
“When I got mine it took me about eight months. The process was only mail in. I had to go to the Sheriff’s Office and get my fingerprints. I had to go to Walgreen’s and get some passport photos, do all of the paperwork, put everything in an envelop and send it off in the mail,” said West.
He’s happy the process is now much quicker, but also believes it’s important that it be done right.
“The main thing is making sure the people that can get it, do get it and the people that can no get it, don’t get it,” said West.
On Friday Commissioner Fried says she’s confident that’s now happening.