ORLANDO, Fla. – Florida set a record earlier this year when it comes applications for concealed weapons licenses.
More Floridians applied for concealed weapons licenses (CWL) in October than any other month in the state’s history, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said in a news release.
Statistics show there were 38,349 new CWL applications in October, in addition to 8,590 CWL renewal applications.
There have been at least 36,000 new CWL applications every month since July 2020, with the department projected to process a record 305,043 new applications and 143,749 renewal applications in 2020.
In 2019, Florida received 202,698 new CWL applications, and in 2018, there were 188,900 new CWL applications.
According to the news release, applications typically increase in presidential election years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has likely driven higher application volume.
The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services said it is taking several steps to reduce application review times and customer phone and chat wait times.
“Upon taking office, I assured Floridians that our state’s concealed weapons licensing would become not only more efficient, but more accountable,” Fried said. “While we’ve reduced initial review times up to 98%, we can’t rest on that success. With record-high application volume, we’re processing more than 10,000 concealed weapons license applications each week, but we know increased wait times can be frustrating. That’s why we’re hiring more staff and further streamlining our processes to reduce both application review times and customer service times. And of course, we’re ensuring every applicant gets the full background check required by law.”