Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Wilton Simpson has withdrawn from a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) over the information the state police agency gives out during background checks for concealed weapons licenses.
The lawsuit was filed in October under Simpson’s predecessor, Democrat Nikki Fried, and sought to get more information on the FDLE’s background checks performed on applicants.
The licenses are issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS), but FDLE performs the checks. If a check turns up a criminal history or other reason to deny an application, the license is denied, but the applicant has a chance to appeal. FDACS was suing to get access to the information turned up by FDLE during the appeal process.
Simpson said the agencies had reached an agreement for the FDLE to provide more details during the application process.
“I’m proud to announce today my decision to voluntarily dismiss the department’s lawsuit against FDLE after agreeing to a resolution that meets the needs of both departments,” Simpson said in a released statement.
“I want to thank FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass and his team for their solutions-oriented approach to this issue. Our two offices are now aligned in our commitment to protecting the integrity of our law enforcement agencies as well as Floridians’ Second Amendment rights and the issuance of concealed weapon licenses — and this dismissal today marks the beginning of a new cooperative partnership. I look forward to continued collaboration with FDLE on shared priorities through the Cabinet process.”
It’s unclear, though, what role the FDACS’ concealed weapons license division will play if legislation repealing the concealed carry license requirement passes this year.
Gun rights advocates have pushed for the bill for years but the Republican-held Legislature has failed to pass it. Now, with a two-thirds majority in each chamber, and the backing of House Speaker Paul Renner, a Palm Coast Republican, and Gov. Ron DeSantis, the measure has more momentum ahead of the Legislative Session set to start March 7.
Simpson said he supports such a bill, although it hasn’t been filed.
“I believe this year we will also get constitutional carry done in the Legislature. We’re looking forward to that. It’s a bill we’ve been working on for the last 10 years,” Simpson said Wednesday at a press conference in Brevard County to announce his support for a separate bill to ban financial institutions from tracking guns and ammunition purchases.
January 13, 2023 at 3:26 pm
I 10000000% support constitutional carry but the law they have proposed is more about implementing a School Guardian program then constitutional carry. When it comes to open carry it is very vague. Other parts of the law are vague enough where I could agree in court that carrying a concealed weapon into ANY building that has a pharmacy in it would be illegal. Buildings like Walmart, Publix or any other location that has a pharmacy.
January 14, 2023 at 12:52 pm
Finally! Some common sense in that office. Nikki wasted lots & lots of taxpayer dollars.
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