Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said review times for applications for concealed-weapons licenses have been reduced.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which Fried heads, said review times for people with no prior issues have been reduced from 50 days when Fried took office in January to one day in July. Meanwhile, people with prior arrests or prosecutions now face an average review period of 25 days, down from 88 days in January.
“We’ve made our concealed weapons license program more efficient --- but we’ve also made it more accountable,” Fried tweeted on Friday. “I said on day one: everyone who applies to carry concealed weapons in Florida will get the full background check required by law. And now, they do.”
In another tweet, she credited “major changes of leadership, staffing, & culture to get it right” as the “licensing program we inherited had serious failures of oversight.”
Fried announced the statistics during an appearance at the Pasco County Tax Collector’s Office. An auditor general examination of the licensing process under former Commissioner Adam Putnam pointed to a lack of management oversight by the department. Putnam’s administration said the issues were being addressed.
Issues with the background-check process were first highlighted last summer in various media reports. At least 300 concealed-weapons licenses were later revoked. Under Putnam, Florida’s concealed-carry program in 2012 became the first in the nation to surpass the 1 million mark. As of June 30, the state reported more than 2 million concealed-weapons licenses were active.