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Agency seeks money amid rise in concealed weapon licenses

File photo
File photo

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A continued increase in the number of people seeking concealed-weapons licenses will require an additional $2.61 million to cover costs of licensing and background checks, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The department's request to increase its funding is among a number of agency proposals going before the Joint Legislative Budget Commission on Tuesday.

The department, which is responsible for issuing concealed-weapon or firearm licenses, notes the state is on a pace to process 316,738 concealed-weapons applications during the fiscal year that began July 1.

Through October, 105,594 new applications had been received.

During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the department handled 244,726 new applications.

"To meet the continued demand, the operating costs have increased substantially," budget commission paperwork said. "Deficits are projected in several appropriation categories in the Division of Licensing Trust Fund."

The department was budgeted for more than $25 million from the trust fund for the current year, with the total dominated by staff salaries and contracted services.