Floridians applying for concealed weapons permits reaches historic highs
Image by Brett Hondow of Pixabay.

Florida leads the nation with over 2 million license holders. 

Floridians applied at historic levels this October for a license to carry a concealed weapon, the Florida Department of Agriculture announced.

FDACS recorded 38,349 new concealed weapons license (CWL) applications and 8,590 renewals that month, more than any month in Sunshine State history. What’s more, FDACS has received roughly 36,000 new CWL applications each month since July 2020.

The department estimates it will handle a record 305,043 new applications and 143,749 renewal applications this year.

In contrast, FDACS processed 202,698 new CWL applications in 2019 for a 16,891 monthly average. In 2018, the department processed 188,900 applications for a 15,471 monthly average.

“Applications typically increase in presidential election years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has likely driven higher application volume,” a department press release noted.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said the agency has worked to accommodate the application surge.

Fried said FDACS has added 20 more staffers to help reduce wait time and another 15 will soon be brought on to accommodate appointments.

The department has also increased the number of callers it can place on-hold to avoid disconnection.

“While we’ve reduced initial review times up to 98%, we can’t rest on that success,” Fried said in a statement. “With record-high application volume, we’re processing more than 10,000 concealed weapons license applications each week, but we know increased wait times can be frustrating. That’s why we’re hiring more staff and further streamlining our processes to reduce both application review times and customer service times.”

Fried noted that her office is ensuring that every applicant receives a “full background check.”

Florida statute tasks FDACS with overseeing the state’s concealed weapons licensing program.

Notably, Florida leads the nation with over 2 million license holders.

FDACS Division of Licensing Director Steve Hurm noted that the department’s increased effort goes beyond concealed weapon applications.

“From concealed weapons to security guards to private investigators, our mission is to serve every licensing applicant with speed, accuracy, transparency, and accountability,” Hurm said.

Application details for a concealed weapon license can be found online.

Jason Delgado

Jason Delgado covers news out of the Florida State Capitol. After a go with the U.S. Army, the Orlando-native attended the University of Central Florida and earned a degree in American Policy and National Security. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. He'd love to hear from you. You can reach Jason by email ([email protected]) or on Twitter at @byJasonDelgado.


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