Military Members Boost Concealed Weapons Licenses

July 24, 2017

Florida has fast-tracked concealed-weapons licenses to 82,000 military members and honorably discharged veterans since terror-related shootings at a pair of military installations in Tennessee two years ago.

State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who along with Gov. Rick Scott helped expedite the permitting process as part of the state’s reaction to the shootings in Chattanooga, Tenn., made an appearance Tuesday to discuss the effort, which has played a part in Florida’s increased number of people allowed to carry concealed firearms.

But with Putnam running for governor in 2018, his stances on Second Amendment issues are drawing criticism from Democrats.

Since Putnam first won statewide office in 2010, the number of concealed-weapons licenses has soared from about 800,000 to more than 1.78 million. Putnam’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issues the licenses.

The tens of thousands of active-duty military members and veterans getting expedited permits has come as the state has seen “heavy” demand for concealed-weapons licenses, Putnam said.

“This is just one example of what we do through our department to make Florida the most veteran- and military-friendly state in the nation,” Putnam said during an appearance at the National Guard Armory in Tallahassee.

The fast-tracking for military members, who don’t have to wait until they’re age 21 as do civilian applicants, was established as part of Florida’s reaction to the July 16, 2015, terrorist-motivated shootings in Chattanooga that resulted in the deaths of four Marines, a Navy sailor and the gunman. Florida also upgraded security at National Guard recruitment centers, including arming guard members.

During his appearance at the armory, Putnam said the Legislature “continues to wrestle with the right way to get there” when asked about allowing concealed-weapons license holders to carry firearms on college and university campuses or to openly carry handguns.

Efforts to pass such proposals have failed in the Senate in recent years.

“Gun-free zones, where the victims have no opportunity to defend themselves, ought to be modified in a responsible way so that people can exercise their Second Amendment rights and protect themselves,” Putnam said.

As Putnam was speaking, Democrats criticized him about a comment posted online Monday about people protesting in Tampa over a recent National Rifle Association recruitment video.

“Classic progressive move,” Putnam said on Facebook. “Desperate attempt to limit our 2nd Amendment rights.”

Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Johanna Cervone called the video, narrated by NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch, an attempt to “provoke fear and stoke the flames of division.”

“If Adam Putnam is endorsing this video, he’s encouraging violence against fellow Americans,” Cervone said in a prepared statement. “Could Putnam be more transparent in his pandering to the far right? It’s clear Putnam is more than a little insecure about his credentials as a conservative.”

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is running as a Democrat for governor, was also critical of Putnam for supporting the video.

“It’s a shameful day when someone who wants to lead our state stands behind such violent, divisive rhetoric, and against commonsense gun protections for Floridians,” Gillum said in a prepared statement.

In the video, Loesch called out progressives in education, the media and Hollywood for their resistance against President Donald Trump.

“The only way we stop this, the only we save our country and our freedom, is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth,” Loesch said in the video.

by The News Service of Florida


10 Responses to “Military Members Boost Concealed Weapons Licenses”

  1. John on July 27th, 2017 8:41 pm

    I have a concealed carry permit and rarely carry my weapon. I feel safer collectively, because I know that on days that I chose not to carry my gun, there are other people on that same day that did carry a weapon. Guns in citizens hands make us all safer. What scares me is the people that want America to look like the European Union…unarmed and unsafe from criminals or the government. They find safety in RUNNING.

  2. David Huie Green on July 26th, 2017 10:34 am

    ” I respectfully ask that you redact the uncalled for statement “I feel some individuals merely use it as an excuse for unusual behavior.”.”

    Even if I personally heard one brag about that being the way he got his permits approved?

    “Every day you read where somebody like you got killed by a Vietnam veteran like me for nonsense just like this. They’d put me in a nuthouse for a while, but you’d still be in that cold, dark grave.”

    I respectfully decline.

    David for reality, respectfully

  3. Casual Observer on July 25th, 2017 3:06 pm

    @ Les Bridges:

    With all due respect to my Brothers-in-Arms.

    The original question remains – does some rhetoric “cause those who really need help to avoid asking for help” and qualify them to carry a deadly weapon? Who makes the call as to how PTSD affects an individual?

    A case in point, who let the ex-service member slip through the cracks and kill Chris Kyle (the “American Sniper?) How many other scenarios have we read of where a person, military or not, has blamed some abhorrent occurrence on some past event. PTSD… is real….is it a disqualifying factor? Just a question.

  4. Barry Hirsh on July 25th, 2017 1:08 pm

    In other words, the usual caterwauling from the usual anti-Constitution leftist suspects.

    They seem to think their unpatriotic vision of America is widely supported when the exact opposite is true.

  5. Chris in Molino on July 24th, 2017 5:34 pm

    Forget concealed carry, look at the crime stats of states with “open carry” since they have done so. However, Florida would never do that. Besides, LEO hates concealed carry much less open carry. Just look at how they treat people in open carry states. Good upstanding folks. Plenty of people on YouTube wanting to show the big deal they make even after checking everything and everyone. At a Steak n Shake there were 16 open carry family members who all denied showing identification. LEO tried to get the mngr. to throw them out but he was a supporter. Hoorah for the Second Amendment.

  6. Kate on July 24th, 2017 1:56 pm

    So that is where all the road rage and murders are coming from.

  7. Sedition on July 24th, 2017 11:25 am

    I still have heard no valid reason why I should have to not only ask permission , but PAY for as well, a right that is already guaranteed against government interference in the Bill of Rights. How many people here have to ask permission and pay to go to church, have an opinion, prevent illegal search and seizure, remain silent when cops go on fishing expeditions, etc….?

  8. sam on July 24th, 2017 9:49 am

    as a viet vet a lot of us came home with ptsd and lived with it. we adjusted, got jobs , got married and had families. there was no diagnosed ptsd at that time. i knew i had changed and people who had known me before i enlisted knew it. war does that. move on.

  9. Les Bridges on July 24th, 2017 9:42 am

    Until you have been involved in a firefight you will never know what these men and women go through mentally.

    Until you’ve low crawled under a spray of the enemies’ hot lead I respectfully ask that you redact the uncalled for statement “I feel some individuals merely use it as an excuse for unusual behavior.”.

    All this sort of rhetoric does is cause those who really need help to avoid asking for help.

  10. Casual Observer on July 24th, 2017 7:14 am

    There are several disqualifying areas in regard to a person obtaining a concealed weapons permit. Some of these are related to mental health.

    If a service member, or any person, has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Distress (PTSD,) are they subject to being denied a carry permit?

    PTSD is a legitimate problem in many cases, but, I feel some individuals merely use it as an excuse for unusual behavior.

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