If it were not for the Florida Department of Agriculture issuing nearly 300 concealed-firearm carry permits that later had to be revoked because of mishandled background check oversight, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam might be preparing to be inaugurated as governor. Instead, Putnam is contemplating what political future he might have, since the concealed firearms controversy probably caused him to lose the Aug. 28 Republican gubernatorial primary to Ron DeSantis, who will become governor on Jan. 8. Putnam will be replaced as agriculture and community services commissioner by Democrat Nikki Fried.
The Department of Agriculture has been issuing concealed firearm permits for the last 15 years, with the assistance of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This has struck some people as unusual, but there wasn’t a great deal of talk or controversy about the subject until the flap about permits during the GOP gubernatorial primary. Two Democrats in the Legislature, however, want to shift the job of issuing concealed firearm permits from the Agriculture Department to the FDLE. Reportedly, Fried supports shifting permit oversight to the FDLE. Meanwhile, the National Rifle Association wants the office of the Chief Financial Officer of Florida, a post held by Jimmy Patronis, a Republican.
We’ve never thought the NRA the demon many would make of it. It mainly wields political power because, like other organizations that seek to influence lawmakers, such as the AARP or the National Education Association, it has a lot of members who vote.
In this case, however, the logical move would be to give all the job of issuing firearm permits to the FDLE.