Nikki Fried touts record gun licensing in response to Mike Beltran complaints
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/5/19-Rep. Mike Beltran, R-Lithia, during the Health Quality Subcommittee, Tuesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

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The state lawmaker said the Agriculture Commissioner used pandemic as a pretext to limit access.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried told state Rep. Mike Beltran her office has issued plenty of legal weapons permits. Now, she argues, it’s time that the Florida Legislature do its job and curb gun violence.

Fried, a Democrat running for Governor, took issue with the lawmaker from Lithia’s recent public comments accusing her office of refusing concealed weapons permits.

“I want to reiterate that you can be confident that concealed weapon licenses are being issued by my office in a timely manner with the required background checks being conducted,” Fried wrote.

“Confidence is lacking, however, in our state’s ability to protect Floridians from gun violence. Given Florida’s own tragedies at Parkland and Pulse, and the more recent mass shootings in Uvalde and Buffalo, the need for commonsense action to address gun violence that impacts our communities every day is long overdue.”

Fried issued a letter to Beltran and posted it on social media after the Republican publicly accused Fried of overstepping. In an interview where he advocated passage of constitutional carry, or the right to carry a firearm without obtaining a state permit, he said Fried’s actions warranted such a change in the law.

He told Bay News 9 that Fried “refused to issue such permits on a wide variety of pretexts, everything from COVID to computer problems.”

Fried notably announced in March 2020 at the peak of the pandemic that her office would delay some permit processing because offices could not process fingerprints, a required step in approving new licenses.

But Fried said her office has processed a record number of applications for concealed weapon permits and has issued more than any administration in Florida history. Last year, her office handled 360,000 applications, issuing 309,917 new licenses in the 2020-21 fiscal year. She also said wait times have dropped to 10 days for clean applications and 12 days for anyone with a criminal history.

Beltran wrote on social media that he appreciated the letter, but argued Fried still had the response to gun violence wrong.

“Unfortunately, I must decline your invitation to infringe the Second Amendment,” he tweeted. “Recent tragedies underscore the need to allow law abiding citizens to protect themselves rather than trusting bureaucrats. I will oppose your unconstitutional agenda.

Beltran announced earlier this year he will run for re-election in House District 70. He had also been considered a potential contender in a crowded field for the open Florida’s 15th Congressional District race.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


5 comments

  • Al

    June 1, 2022 at 3:05 pm

    If it is mess the head rape the wife shoot the neighbors you all have a bondage problem

  • Neil Fountaine

    June 3, 2022 at 8:05 am

    IMO, if it wasn’t gun violence, it’d be something else. There is some sort of underlying condition that cause gun violence, maybe it is educational. I think Florida does a good job at checking application.
    We have been concealed carry owners for 10 years. I have owned rifles/shotguns/pistols since I was 15 years old in 1963. I have gone through hunting classes and pistol permit classes. I believe that both should be necessary to own a weapon and should be made into a law for the future. That could/would be the 1st line of defense if a potential owner is inadequate. Thank you

  • YYep

    June 5, 2022 at 9:07 am

    The truth is you can not predict a blood red flag

  • Yeah

    June 5, 2022 at 9:27 am

    Yep they want the Hooker lover shrink to determine your gun fate

  • YYep

    June 5, 2022 at 10:16 am

    And how much will this cost for ear marks

Comments are closed.


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