TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is touting improved wait times for those seeking concealed carry permits, despite the pandemic and record applications.
Even with the additional challenges 2020 has brought compared to years past, the department is processing applications faster than the previous administration.
In January 2019, a person applying for a concealed carry permit could count on waiting as long as 88 days for their application to process.
“The wait times were inordinately long,” said Charlie Strickland, owner of Talon Tactical Outfitters. “People obviously want them to go faster, but it’s faster than it was a few years ago.”
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said applicants can now expect to wait between 42 and 43 days, depending on whether they have a criminal history.
“I made a promise to the citizens of this state that one, I’d come in and make sure that we were streamlining it and we were being efficient and on top of it that we are going to have background checks,” Fried said.
The faster wait times come despite the ongoing pandemic and a record 305,000 applications in 2020.
“In comparison to 2018, that is a 62-percent increase,” Fried said. “We’ve modernized the department, we’ve uploaded different forms right onto our website, we’ve modernized the website for the entirety of the department. And this was a huge part of making sure that we were doing this right, we’re making sure that we’re accountable to the citizens of our state and that we’re doing it efficiently.”
The state and country saw record gun sales amid the pandemic and presidential election. And those in the gun business don’t expect sales to slow any time soon.
“I can’t predict what’s going to happen with the Biden administration, but any time they mention gun control the numbers are going to go through the roof,” Strickland said.
And while Strickland said gun sales are up significantly this year, he did highlight that more people have also been taking training courses to learn how to properly use firearms in line with state law.
Fried is optimistic the demand for concealed carry permits will return to pre-2020 levels in the near future.
“We are excited for 2021 to come and everybody to start calming down. So we do anticipate that those numbers will drop back down,” she said.
Wait times aren’t back to their pre-pandemic average of between one and 25 days, but the department is hopeful it can get back to a similar speed within three to six months.