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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More on the Florida "Tax" issue.

If you are interested in more details on what is going on in Florida related to the fees paid for concealed handgun permits and the current budget proposal raiding $6 million from the Division of Licensing trust fund consisting of fees paid by applicants (both resident and non-resident) for concealed weapons permits, this article about a letter Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson sent to the Governor offers some great information.

In a letter to Governor Crist, Bronson cited "unprecedented growth" in applications for gun permits that has created a "tremendous backlog" of cases to be processed.

To balance the $66.5 billion state budget that takes effect July 1, legislators swept nearly $600 million from dozens of accounts known as trust funds. Among those funds is $6 million from fees paid into the lisenceing trust fund paid by applicants wanting concealed carry permits. According to Bronson, the sweep would leave between $2 million and $3 million in the fund.

"By law, the department is required to issue licenses within 90 days of receipt of a complete application," Bronson wrote in his letter to Crist dated May 14. "If we do not meet this time frame, an applicant may, by law, request the license to be issued even without the results of the criminal background check being reviewed. We simply cannot process all of these applications in a timely manner because of this unprecedented surge in new applications."

A legislative budget committee in February gave Bronson the okay to spend $3.9 million more to hire 61 temporary workers.

In April, the state received 15,534 concealed weapons permit applications, compared with 9,207 in April a year ago. In March, the state received 12,809 applications, compared with 7,996 for the same month a year earlier.

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