Florida Democrat Nikki Fried, the Commissioner-elect of the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, wants to move the concealed weapons permit system from her agency to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement as part of “reforming” the concealed carry permitting system. But Marion Hammer, NRA’s former President and current lobbyist in the Sunshine State, wants the authority transferred instead to Florida’s Republican Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis.
Fried recently reiterated her stance and blasted the NRA in a series of tweets.
The NRA’s irresponsible proposal to move background check authority from the Department of Agriculture to the CFO’s office is a blatant power grab and shameless political party shopping.
— Nikki Fried (@nikkifried) November 28, 2018
The Tampa Bay Times reported this week that Senate Democrats are drafting language to support Fried’s proposal.
Democratic state Sens. Lauren Book and Linda Stewart have drafted a bill proposing the Division of Licensing be moved from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
When “shall issue” concealed carry passed in 1987, it replaced the quagmire that was the original 67-county-based permitting system. Licensing was then consolidated under the Department of State. But in 2002, that changed when the office went from an elected position to an appointed one.
The NRA fought to have it placed under a duly elected position like the Commissioner of Agriculture since at the time, the state police agency, the FDLE, was known for being a political hotbed that didn’t exactly favor civil liberties. That reputation remains to this day.
I would much rather see the CCW permitting system under Patronis than Fried, who’s no friend of gun rights. Ultimately, the best way to resolve this would be to pass constitutional carry in Florida. But with anti-gun Republican Senate President Bill Galvano, there isn’t much chance a constitutional carry bill would ever reach Gov. DeSantis’ desk.