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New bill could reduce wait times for FL gun permits


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New bill could reduce wait times for FL gun permits

By Fox 4 News Staff. CREATED Dec 26, 2013

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - There are more licensed gun holders in Lee County than other parts of southwest Florida. But you can't apply for a permit here. A bill filed in the state Senate could change that.

"This is my new rifle," showcased Jenice Sloan, of North Fort Myers.

Sloan is taking charge. There's a reason she's hunted the perfect gun at Fowler Firearms in Fort Myers.

"We have some boar on our property that occasionally I need to take care of," explained Sloan. "My husband's not always around."

And she wants to carry it on her, too. But to apply for a concealed weapons permit, Sloan will have to go to Punta Gorda, where the only FL Department of Ag office is in southwest Florida.

"I'd rather not have to," explained Sloan. "It would be better if i could do it here."

That's a possibility if a new bill is approved by state legislators. Filed by Sen. Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby), it would allow tax collectors to accept gun permit applications. In Lee County, that could create up to six new locations.

"It just makes good sense," said Larry Hart, the Lee County Tax Collector.

Hart says that would mean shorter wait times for prospective gun owners. 

"It would mean quicker service," explained Hart. "It would mean that we have the electronic fingerprinting machines, we can review the applications, we can get them off to the state quicker."

For gun shops, the legislation is a win-win.

"I would say it would definitely be a luxury for our clients," said Nick Lostracco, the assistant manager at Fowler Firearms. 

Shop owners predict more customers would sign up for concealed carry classes knowing they could lock in their weapons a little sooner.  

"If we needed to we'll just extend the days," said Lostracco. "We'll ad more days if it got that crazy."

The bill is up for a vote in the spring.