DADE CITY -- "Some people were worried that when a Democrat was in charge... (it would mean) more delays and less (concealed carry) licenses."
Instead, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried tells an audience at the East Pasco Government Center Friday that her office has cut back on the backlog of concealed weapons permits since she took office in January, while maintaining that applicants are getting background checks as the law requires.
Fried says that her office has reduced turnaround times for background checks from 88 to 25 days for those with "red flags" and from 50 days to one day for those with clean records. She says that doesn't mean you can expect same-day service but it means the wait time will be much less.
Fried says that when she took office in January, she told Ag Department employees to "dig in" and work overtime to eliminate the backlog. Lawmakers responded by adding funding for 25 new positions. County tax collectors also did their part, Fried says, by checking applications filed at their offices for errors that slow down the process.
Problems with the concealed weapons permitting process plagued the administration of Fried's predecessor, Adam Putnam. For more than a year ag employees stopped using a particular FBI database because they couldn't log into the system, according to a report by the state inspector general.
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