Thursday, February 19, 2009

Really? Gun Permits? Really!

This morning I found myself hoping I had just temporarily landed in the middle of that Saturday Night Live News skit where Seth and Amy express disgust and amazement at the decisions by our government/corporate leaders by saying Really!?! over and over. But it was real life, not comedy. Really!

Yesterday, our smart-as-a-box-of-rocks legislative representatives on the Legislative Budget Commission approved additional spending to handle the backlong of applications for things like unemployment compensation, food stamps and public assistance here in Florida. Ok. That makes sense. 

But they also approved $3.8 million in new spending to help cut a backlog of 90,000 applications for concealed weapons permits. Really?!? Carrying a concealed weapon is now such an emergency that we need to hire  61 temporary workers between April 1 and June 30 to process the gun applications in Tallahassee and eight regional offices. Really?!?

To be fair, some of this money will be spent clearing a back log of criminal background checks. (I hope they're checking all the people who are in such a rush to carry a concealed weapon.) I don't know if this was the brainchild of our illustrious Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson. But he defended the additional spending to process the backlog of concealed weapons permits, and I quote, "A lot of it has to do with the fact that the economy is having some tough times right now," Bronson said. "The amount of crimes are beginning to increase. I believe that people are feeling a little threatened."

Maybe we could better fund our police and safety programs in the state with that $3.8 million instead. Maybe, oh and I know this is silly, we could pay for some more crime prevention programs. Nah, let's just arm as many people in the state as possible. Do it yourself crime-fighting. I guess do-it-yourself roadwork and bridge construction is next. 


Nolan said...

Florida Concealed Weapon or Firearm Statute

790.06 - License to carry concealed weapon or firearm

(c) The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall, within 90 days after the date of receipt of the items listed in subsection (5): 1. Issue the license; or 2. Deny the application based solely on the ground that the applicant fails to qualify under the criteria listed in subsection (2) or subsection (3).

They have no choice, by law they only have 90 days or they open themselves up to lawsuits.

Dimensio said...

Nolan's comment is factually correct. Moreover, the individuals who have applied for licenses have already provided payment of an application fee to the state. That the states has misappropriated these funds is not the fault of the permit applicants, and it is unreasonable to suggest that the state violate the law by failing to issue permits legally entitled to those who have already provided payment for them.

NativeMom said...

Just about the only thing that gets people more fired up (excuse the pun) than guns is abortion.

Thanks for the update Nolan. While there may be a provision in state statute that says the state "shall" respond to concealed weapons applications within 90 days (although the word "shall" does not mean "must"), consider.

Title IX of the Florida Constitution also states:
SECTION 1. Public education.--

(a) The education of children is a fundamental value of the people of the State of Florida. It is, therefore, a paramount duty of the state to make adequate provision for the education of all children residing within its borders. Adequate provision shall be made by law for a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education and for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of institutions of higher learning and other public education programs that the needs of the people may require.

Now, I don't know about you, but I think our lawmakers have been in violation of the constitution for more than 20 years. We certainly aren't providing a high quality education or meeting the needs of the people with our education system here in Florida.

So maybe someone should sue over that?

And as far as being beholden to respond to people who have paid their application fee . . . how about being beholden to the people who pay for education, which is all of us as taxpayers. What does paying a fee have to do with it?

Dimensio said...

While there may be a provision in state statute that says the state "shall" respond to concealed weapons applications within 90 days (although the word "shall" does not mean "must")

In fact, the word "shall" in the state provision does denote a duty of the state to provide a response within the stated timeframe Should the state fail to issue a permit to a qualified applicant within ninety days of the application, the state is in violation of its own laws.

The fundamental problem is that the state of Florida has misappropriated the funds paid by permit applicants by placing those funds into the general fund and then spending it elsewhere. Reallocating 3.8 million dollars to address the current backlog of permits is merely a correction of that error. More than seven million dollars has been generated by permit application fees, thus the system runs at a profit, and its existence has resulted in the state having greater funding than would exist should the permit system not be in place. It is not unreasonable for the state to use a portion of the revenue generated from this permit system to guarantee that those who have applied for a permit recieve one in a timely -- and legally required -- fashion.