Attorney General and Ag Commissioner face off over concealed carry

Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 4:21 PM EDT
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By: Mike Vasilinda | Capitol News Service

April 23, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- A controversy is brewing in the state Capitol over concealed weapons permits.

The Department of Agriculture closed its nine regional offices in mid March, eliminating one of three options for concealed carry applicants to be fingerprinted.

COVID-19 has effectively closed the other two options for applicants to get fingerprinted, tax collectors and law enforcement, which says fingerprinting, except for criminals, puts officers at too much risk because of the close contact.

Now the Attorney General is warning her fellow cabinet member, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, she might be facing a lawsuit.

“It concerned our office that these applications for concealed weapons licenses would be delayed,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody.

A similar suit was filed in Georgia.

“If Nikki Fried can read, she needs to read the law,” said NRA spokesperson Marion Hammer.

The NRA sent out an alert to its members, citing a specific Florida statute which does not give Fried the authority to suspend accepting applications or renewals.

“They need to call the Governor, email the Governor, and ask the Governor to make Nikki Fried quit violating their rights,” said Hammer.

Fried is pushing back, arguing her offices have processed thousands of applications since March.

In her letter, Commissioner Fried told the Attorney General if she was concerned about applications, she should focus her attention on the unemployment situation.

We asked the Attorney General if Fried should be forced to reopen reopen her nine regional offices.

“It’s their responsibility. And It’s within their purview, and they need to complete that function and that responsibility, especially during this time of emergency,” said Moody.

What remains unclear is whether Fried, through her own executive order, has the authority to extend existing licenses for 90 days, which she did.

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