TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – There are now more than two million concealed carry license holders in Florida.
The permits are good for seven years, but Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried who administers the program wants changes. She wants to shorten the time period and require more training to renew.
Florida’s 2,051,728 concealed weapons permit holders had to take just one course to be certified, but everyone of them would have to be retrained if they want to renew their license under Fried's proposal.
“You’ve waited five to seven years. Haven’t picked up your gun again. Haven’t cleaned it. Haven’t gone back to the range. The likelihood of you harming yourself if you need it increases,” Fried said.
Fried also wants to shorten the permits' validity from seven to five years.
“The maximum length for which the federal government will allow fingerprint retention,” Fried said.
The NRA calls the move a disguised effort at gun control.
“She has no evidence that there has been any accident or incident involved with a license holder due to lack of training,” said former NRA President Marion Hammer.
There have been more than four million applications since the program began in 1987.
Since then, just over 17,000, or 0.3 percent, were not qualified to conceal carry.
Shortening a permit's validity will raise about 25 percent more revenue for the department; a fully staffed department that can only use that money on concealed carry permits. Senate President Bill Galvano questioned the need for change.
“I haven’t seen the data that shows that’s going to somehow decrease mass violence,” said Galvano.
Retraining would cost concealed carry permit holders anywhere from $50 to $200.
The reason for the wide range in costs for training for a concealed carry permit is because the state sets no standards for the training.