Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is touting a two year old program fast tracking concealed weapons permits for veterans and National Guard members. And the Republican is mulling whether he’d expand where those licenses are valid if he wins the governor’s race.
Two years ago a gunman in Chattanooga, Tennessee targeted unarmed service members working at recruiting centers. In response, Florida officials were quick to expedite concealed weapons licenses for reservists. Commissioner Putnam says his office has approved more than 82,000 licenses since.
The Republican gubernatorial hopeful believes prohibiting firearms creates easy targets.
“No, I think that gun free zones,” Putnam says, “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 defend themselves.”
Putnam says he’s ready to embrace open carry in some form, and he’s leaving the door open for campus carry, too.
“Think of the number of students who are also in the guard,” he says. “Think of the number of students who have done their time in Afghanistan or Iraq. Think of the number of students who have had extraordinary amounts of firearms training who are highly qualified, highly competent and safe.”
Still, Putnam stopped short of a full-throated endorsement for the policy.
Despite National Rifle Association and conservative support, measures for open and campus carry have fallen short of passage in the state Legislature for a number of years running.