Florida’s newly-elected Democrat Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Nikki Fried, oversees the issuance of concealed carry permits in the state. During her campaign, she vowed to use her office to crack down on guns in every way possible. I figured that meant that she’d accomplish that through creative interpretation and application of the laws concerning concealed carry in the Sunshine State.
Now, a fellow Florida gun owner I know (who wishes to remain anonymous) is facing some of the first effects of Fried’s anti-gun jihad. And he isn’t alone.
My friend received a certified letter from the Commissioner’s office stating that his concealed weapons permit had been indefinitely suspended. The Ag Department claimed this was because he had an injunction (restraining order) filed against him in Nassau County in 2003. The only problem with that is that it never happened.
He called the Nassau County Clerk’s office to confirm that they have no record of any injunction issued against him. He then went to the local Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services office to explain and see if he could get the situation resolved.
Instead of listening and verifying the information he provided, they simply confiscated his carry permit. They told him he had to go to the Clerk of Court’s office and get a court-certified letter stating they have no record of any injunction issued against him. Then he’d get his permit back.
That’s correct. A state agency is demanding that a citizen prove his innocence so he can exercise a constitutional right.
This individual has been a concealed weapon permit holder in Florida for twelve years. He originally applied in 2007 and renewed in 2017. Both times he was approved via the state’s background screening process. He also is a Federal Firearms License holder and passed BATFE’s background check process in 2008.
My friend called the Clerk of Court’s office. They explained again that they have no record of any injunction being filed against him. Furthermore, he was never served with papers to that effect. There is no record of “return of service” or “return of writ” in their database, which means that no injunction was filed against him without him being served.
His permit was pulled by Fried’s office to fulfill a campaign promise. The last Agriculture Commissioner, Adam Putnam, had a problem resulting in 291 permits mistakenly issued to people who didn’t qualify. That’s out of 1.9 million total. Fried and state Democrats seized on the issue, campaigning heavily on the need to go over everyone’s record with a fine-tooth comb.
Never mind the fact that 291 out of 1.9 million is basically a rounding error. I have a better chance of winning the lottery and getting struck by lightning at the same time. But the error provided the perfect excuse and she is using it as her reason to push gun control from her new position.
My friend got the certified letter from the Clerk of Court’s office on March 4 stating that there is no record of such injunction filed against him.
He had the proof he was told he needed to verify his innocence and he delivered it to the Ag Department. He should then have gotten his permit back. Did they return it? No. Instead they told him this:
“Thank you for returning the required paperwork, we’re going to have to send this off to Tallahassee for verification and filing. We’ll send you a letter in 3-4 weeks to let you know when you can come back to pick up your permit.”
My friend now has to wait as much as a month because of the Ag. Department’s “error.” How did they determine that a non-existent restraining order had been filed against him? We may never know. But my friend wasn’t the only concealed weapon permit holder to have his ticket pulled.
He told me…
“On the way out I walked by a guy who was lost and looking for the CWP office, gave him directions. He looked like he had a certified letter in his hand too, poor guy.”
We live in an age of instantaneous communication across the globe and yet the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is saying that they’ll need three to four weeks to “verify” the certified letter my friend handed them. And they’ll need to do it from Tallahassee.
Apparently having the local office pick up a phone to call the Clerk of Court or using information from the Florida Comprehensive Case Information System or the public Clerk of Courts’ database is utterly beyond their bureaucratic capabilities.
Or maybe this is exactly the way the new Commissioner wants these cases handled. Because a right delayed is a right denied.
Fried appears to be using regulatory stagnation in order to accomplish her goals. She’s turning a once smooth-running machine into a bureaucratic nightmare, making people jump through hoops in order to retain their right to keep and bear arms.
Elections have consequences.