Amid reports of armed citizens standing guard at military recruiting stations and recommendations on how best to protect military personnel, Florida officials announced today that they will expedite concealed weapons permits for active duty military and veterans.The move comes on the heels of the murder of five military members in Chattanooga, Tennessee earlier this month.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs said its goal is to issue licenses to qualified active military and veterans within 30 days, a third of the time allotted by law.
"The men and women who serve and have served our country deserve all of the support we can provide," Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam said. "We are pleased to expedite active military members and veterans' applications for a concealed weapon license, and our partnership with tax collectors throughout the state will make this process even more convenient."
Military and veterans must submit official military identification with their applications or a copy of service members' current orders as proof of active duty status. Honorably discharged veterans should submit a copy of their DD 214 long form.
A concealed weapons permit would allow a military member or veteran to carry such weapons outside of military installations in the state. The military has strict rules about who can carry weapons on bases and installations. Generally, only those with duties related to law enforcement, security and of guarding classified information or equipment are allowed to carry weapons.
Richard Vreeland, an Army veteran of the Iraq war, said he believes that as long as a veteran meets the requirements and had and honorable discharge, they should get their applications expedited.
"I think most of us would be for it," he said. "For people like us it should be a no-brainer."
The Florida move to expedite the process for military and veterans comes amid debates about how best to protect recruiting stations, many of them in shopping center storefronts, and reports of armed citizens showing up at recruiting stations. Read more at Tampa Bay News