Gun law talk at local gun show

Gun show gave people opportunities to look at guns, learn about gun laws

Author: Kumasi Aaron, Reporter, weekend anchor, kaaron@wjxt.com
Published On: Mar 08 2014 02:21:24 PM EST   Updated On: Mar 09 2014 08:49:06 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Some say a bill moving through the state capitol would make the application process to get a concealed weapons permit as convenient as getting a drivers license.

The bill would allow people to get their applications processed at local tax collectors offices.

Concealed weapons permit teachers were available to talk about the pending legislation while people looked at thousands of guns at the Cliffhanger Gun Show at the Prime Osborn Center.

If the new bill making its way through the state legislature passes, it could be even easier to get a license to carry it.

Henry Sterile is teaching a concealed weapons permit class at the show. He says the bill which would allow his students to process their applications at their local tax collectors office, is a good idea.

"That would ease the burden on the state, because now it would open other avenues for them to be able to get their license," Sterile said. "So it would make it a lot easier for them to have to get their license instead of having to wait in line and set all these appointments.

Right now applicants have the option of mailing their application in or going to one of eight Regional Department of Agriculture locations in the state and applying in person.

With more than one million concealed weapons licenses in Florida and the demand for more, the wait time for an appointment at some locations is months long.

"I have no issues with that as long as it's lifting the burden on the state," Sterile said. "Because the state at one point was so overwhelmed with applications that they were taking forever to get them done. We're talking about nine to 10 months which was a long time."

The bill proposes allowing 67 local tax collectors offices to process the applications.

They would be able to charge an extra $22 on top of the $70 fee for new applications and they would charge an additional $12 for renewals which cost $60.

The program would cost about 800 thousand dollars to start and that money would come from concealed weapons license fees.

"You can go in just like you go in for your drivers license," personal safety expert Gary Belson said.

Belson is an instructor and personal safety expert says not only would it make the process faster, it would be more convenient.

While one of those state regional offices is in Jacksonville, it's not too convenient if you live in St. Augustine or Middleburg or Fernandina Beach.

"It's a lot better than people driving the long distance to get to the division of licensing and waiting in line no matter what," Belson said. "And then for something to go wacky. This is a very smart thing to do and it's going to be very efficient."

The initial goal is to have the operation running in 30 counties. It's already been unanimously approved by a state senate committee.