The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Licensing regional is delaying concealed weapons license application during the statewide COVID-19 crisis.
The move comes after Gov. Ron DeSantis recommended state offices temporarily close to the public from March 19 through April 19.
That means regional office personnel will not be available to fingerprint concealed weapons permit applicants, which is required to issue licenses.
Local law enforcement agencies and tax collector offices throughout the state have also begun to suspend fingerprint services. Halting those services makes first-time concealed weapons permit applicants unable to obtain fingerprints from those providers.
Only fingerprints submitted through an official law enforcement agency, a tax collector’s office or the Division of Licensing are valid for concealed weapons permits.
In order to prevent unnecessary financial burden or frustration to applicants, the state is delaying applications beginning Monday, March 23.
Existing concealed weapons permit holders with licenses set to expire will be automatically extended for 30-days pursuant to an elective order issued by Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
Qualifying security officers can still submit renewal applications online or through the mail and will not be affected.
The measures are taken as part of a statewide effort to minimize human-to-human interaction as much as possible. DeSantis has already ordered all bars and nightclubs closed for 30-days, temporarily banned gatherings either public or private of more than 50 people and issued an order limiting gatherings in public places to 10 people.
Several beaches throughout the state have also been closed to minimize gatherings including several in South Florida, and in Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Then city of Tampa also closed its beaches.
As of Friday afternoon, 520 cases of coronavirus had been reported in Florida, a number that jumped by 88 from the day prior. Another evening update is expected to reflect additional cases. Ten people in Florida have died.