Excerpted from a Miami Herald article by Steve Bousquet
Lawmakers want to rewrite Florida’s concealed weapons law so that people can get gun licenses even when criminal background checks are incomplete.
The change is being sought by Adam Putnam, the agriculture commissioner and a Republican candidate for governor who has emphasized support for gun rights as a way to gain favor with GOP primary voters.
The provision is near the very end of a 114-page bill that deals with routine business involving livestock, telephone solicitations, liquefied gas and oyster harvesting.
A bill sponsor, Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, said Putnam asked for the change.
“Obviously, we’re not trying to make an easier path for anyone who shouldn’t have a concealed weapons permit,” Stargel said. “Nobody wants anyone who shouldn’t have one to have one.”
Supporters of gun restrictions, however, say the change is dangerous to the public in a state where nearly half a million people applied for gun permits last year alone.
“It’s extremely dangerous to allow people who don’t have completely clean background checks to get a permit,” said Patti Brigham of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.
Jacksonville lawyer Eric Friday, who represents the pro-gun group Florida Carry, called the change long overdue.
“We’re talking about a fundamental right, and the state of Florida doesn’t get to deny someone’s rights indefinitely,” Friday said.
You can read the full article here.