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Ag Dept. Builds On Scott's Exec. Order By Speeding Up Gun Applications For All Military

Governor Rick Scott's office
Gov. Rick Scott visiting the 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard Base in Jacksonville last week, July 22, 2015

Building on a recent Executive Order from Governor Rick Scott, the Florida Department of Agriculture is taking steps to protect members of the military and veterans. The state’s concealed weapons permit applications process for people in those categories will now be sped up.

After the deadly attacks at military recruitment centers in Tennessee, Governor Scott issued the Executive Order in mid-July aimed at protecting Florida National Guardsmen.

And, Florida National Guard Adjutant General Michael Calhoun says it’s a good thing.

“We just want to reassure our recruiters and the individuals that come to our centers that they’re protected,” said Calhoun. “The Governor’s given a directive to ensure that we come up with courses of actions to improve the security to a level and this is not just a snap instance. This is for long-term because we see this as a long-term threat. So, we’re going to build out the best policy and evaluate all the resources available and ensure the protection of our airmen and soldiers.”

Following a bomb threat at a National Guard armory in Florida’s own Capital city of Tallahassee, Scott spoke to members of the 125th Fighter Wing, Florida Air National Guard Base in Jacksonville about what he wants to do to protect them.

That includes streamlining the application process for the military men and women of the Florida National Guard applying for a concealed weapons permit.

He says the goal is to ensure all guardsmen are armed.

“Asked our Adjutant General to make sure all of our qualified National Guard members are armed so they can defend themselves. We expect them to go and defend our American freedom. We expect them to be able to go and defend themselves,” said Scott, speaking to reporters.

And, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services spokeswoman Jenn Meale says starting this week, her agency is building on the Governor’s directive.

It’s tasked with processing concealed carry applications and continues to hold the national record for weapons permits at more than a million.

The department is currently working with 13 tax collector’s offices to make the process faster for Florida residents.  Now, Meale says they’ll be looking to make it even more convenient for those in the military, including the National Guard.

“The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will give priority to active military members and veterans’ applications in order to expedite them, and our goal is to provide those licenses from application time to finish in approximately 30 days. Of course, that time frame may be affected duty to volume. However, all of those applications received will be expedited,” said Meale.

She says to be eligible, people must meet certain requirements.

“They will need to provide a copy of their common access card or other form of official military identification with the application,” Meale added. “We can also accept the service members’ current orders as proof of active duty status and honorably discharged veterans should submit a copy of their DD 214 long form with their application.”

For more information, visit the department’s website at FreshFromFlorida.com/CWL.

For more news updates, follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter: @SaschaCordner.

Sascha Cordner has more than ten years of public radio experience. It includes working at NPR member station WUFT-FM in Gainesville for several years. She's worked in both radio and TV, serving in various capacities as a reporter, producer and anchor. She's also a graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor's degree in telecommunications. She is the recipient of 15 awards from the Associated Press, Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), and Edward R. Murrow. Her award-winning stories include her coverage on the infamous “Dozier School for Boys” and a feature titled "Male Breast Cancer: Lost in the Sea of Pink." Currently, Sascha serves as the host and producer of local and state news content for the afternoon news program "All Things Considered" at WFSU. Sascha primarily covers criminal justice and social services issues. When she's not reporting, Sascha likes catching up on her favorite TV shows, singing and reading. Follow Sascha Cordner on Twitter:@SaschaCordner.