Strange goings on at the Florida Division of Licensing


Late last year, the Florida Division of Licensing issued it One-Millionth concealed carry license.

It’s a remarkable achievement given the division’s small staff.

When the concealed carry license program began in 1987, few knew it would become so popular with Floridians and out-of-state licensees.

The division, which is part of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, does a credible job processing the thousands of concealed carry license applications it receives each year, but it can be glitchy at times.

Last week I got a call from a concealed carry license applicant who lives in Sarasota County. He went through a local instructor for his firearms training and sent off his application packet and a check to the division. I’m not going to name the applicant or the instructor. As you will see, neither did anything wrong.

Last week, he received a generic letter from the division, which said his application was rejected because of unspecified “errors or omissions.” Read the Letter: here

It’s when he called to find out what the problems were with his application that things got strange.

First, a staffer in the division’s public inquiry section told him they rejected the application because of a nasty call about the instructor from the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office took issue with the instructor’s methods, the applicant was told.

I checked with the sheriff’s spokeswoman Wendy Rose. She strongly denied that her agency had any contact with the Department of Agriculture, other than one unrelated inquiry about a zoning issue. Besides, what sheriff’s office has time to monitor the firearms instruction in their county?

The applicant called the division again. This time he was told the National Rifle Association had an unspecified issue with the instructor. However, he checked the NRA’s instructor website and found he was in good standing with the NRA.

Throughout his conversations with the division, the applicant constantly asked for them to send him something in writing to document the problems they had with his application.

They never did.

Finally, he was told to tell his instructor to include a line or two in his training certificate, attesting to the fact that the training complied with Florida statutes – turning the applicant into a go-between between the division and the instructor.

He’s still waiting to receive his license.

Ken Wilkinson, the assistant director of the Florida Division of Licensing, did not immediately return calls or emails seeking comment.

If anyone else has received a similar response from the Division of Licensing, please contact me.



About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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  1. Pingback: Gulf Coast Travel & Leisure | Strange goings on at the Florida Division of Licensing

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