Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, whose office regulates the Sunshine State’s more than 1.6 million permit holders, announced Wednesday that renewals could be processed online.
“My goal is to make applying for or renewing a Florida concealed weapon license as convenient as possible, and this new online feature gives license holders another option when renewing,” Putnam said in a statement.
Licenses can be renewed at the agency’s website and those seeking to do so will need their renewal paperwork, which is mailed out an average of 150 days before the permit expires. The new process is optional and does not add any additional fees to the renewal.
Florida, which broke one million concealed carry permits issued in 2012, has consistently made it easier to obtain and maintain a license by dropping fees and speeding up processing while expanding the number of locations where paperwork could be filed statewide.
Following a 2015 terror attack in Chattanooga, Tennessee that left three U.S. Marines and a Navy Sailor dead, Florida Gov. Rick Scott instituted a number of measures to expedite the permits of those in the military – to include the Florida National Guard – as well as veterans.
Scott also signed a measure into law to allow law-abiding citizens without carry licenses to temporarily carry concealed handguns without a permit during declared emergencies such as mandatory evacuations in hurricanes.
Florida adopted shall-issue concealed carry licensing in 1987 under Republican Gov. Bob Martinez and currently has more permits in circulation than any other state, with an estimated 204,000 set to expire in 2017 according to figures from Putnam’s office. While those renewing can still do so by mail, at eight regional offices or some 41 county tax collectors’ offices, the Commissioner feels the new method will be appealing.