A bill introduced Thursday in the Florida Senate by Democrat Sen. Lauren Book would move a controversial concealed weapons licensing program from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
It’s a measure that Democrat Commissioner of Agriculture-elect Nikki Fried supported during her campaign.
Florida’s gun permitting process landed in the media spotlight earlier this year with a Tampa Bay Times story about how the department under current Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam had stopped reviewing background checks for thousands of applications, which may have allowed someone to own a gun who legally should not.
The newly proposed legislation, SB 108, would also require that the Department of Agriculture send all its records to FDLE and would prohibit the Department of Agriculture from keeping any of the current records on concealed weapons permits.
In a tweet Tuesday (two days before the bill was filed), Fried maintained her support for moving the program under the purview of FDLE and tweeted that “politics should have no role in our concealed weapons permit process.”
“The current system has allowed groups like the NRA to control our state government for long enough,” Fried wrote. “I fully support moving the program to be under the authority of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.”
SB 108 is the 11th bill Sen. Book has introduced ahead of the 2019 legislative session. Book represents Senate District 32 which includes part of South Florida’s Broward County.
The 2019 regular legislative session will begin March 5, 2019. If passed, Book’s measure would take effect Jan. 1, 2020.
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