Proposed Change in Fla. Licensing Laws Draws Fire

By: Bergen Baucom Email
By: Bergen Baucom Email

In Florida, concealed weapons permits are issued through a state agency. Proposed legislation would give that duty to county tax collectors. Many aren't happy about the possibility.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has issued concealed weapons permits to more than 1 million people in Florida, but a new proposal would turn that duty over to local tax collectors.

Retired law enforcement officer and certification firearms trainer Robert Hinson has handled more guns than he can count. He says transferring the responsibility to all 67 county tax collectors in the state would be a mess.

"Confusion, duplication- waste of tax payers dollars."

Hinson subscribes to the theory "if it ain't broke, don't fix it."

"The division of licensing has all the records and software and computer system for firearms permits for armed security officers, private investigators," he said. "They're set up for that throughout the state and they do concealed weapons permits. It would be foolish to divide that by 67."

Retired law enforcement officer Leonard Bowen owns "Country Guns" just across the state line in Alabama. He keeps up with licensing laws in both states.

"[In] the state of Alabama it's issued by the sheriff's department," Bowen said. "[In] the state of Florida it's issued by the state of Florida."

Bowen agrees with Hinson, that Florida should leave well-enough alone.

"They have the ability to do background checks, they know the people better, they know the people in their communities who are a problem and who's not. I don't think your tax collector is going to have that ability.

Jackson County Tax Collector Sherry Brown didn't totally shoot the idea down but says she's not aiming to take the task on anytime soon.

Walton County Tax Collector Rhonda Skipperis supports the legislation.

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