UPDATED: Florida Carry sues FDLE for violating background check laws

UPDATE: I was just told that FDLE has “suddenly” taken action for all three of the named plaintiffs. After months of waiting for their firearms, two were suddenly approved and one was issued a denial. Meanwhile, of course, the lawsuit is proceeding. Kudos, Florida Carry!

PREVIOUS: This class-action lawsuit was just filed by Florida Carry, Inc.

It has massive ramifications for the way the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducts background checks.

I’ve said it before but it bears repeating — Florida Carry is an incredible organization that does more for the rights of Florida gun owners than any other organization. This lawsuit is just the latest example.

Please show them you support.


Tallahassee, FL – A class action lawsuit for ongoing violations of Florida’s firearms background check and preemption laws was filed today on behalf of all Floridians whose right to acquire firearms have been illegally interfered with by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE). Florida Law 790.065 subsection (2) requires that FDLE complete background checks for firearm purchases within 24 working hours. In March of 2018, FDLE began illegally putting background checks into an indefinite “Decision Pending” status. Various plaintiffs have been waiting for as much as a year, in some cases even after providing FDLE with certified proof that they are not prohibited from purchasing firearms.

The law is crystal clear on how FDLE is required to conduct background checks and issue either approval, conditional, or non-approval statuses on background checks. An indefinite “Decision Pending” is not a legal status under Florida statute. FDLE has knowingly and willfully changed its policies, rules, and regulations to illegally deprive many law-abiding Floridians of their right to keep and bear arms without proper evidence of a disqualifying background or the due process required for the denial of a fundamental right.

Bureaucrats in Florida have no authority to regulate the right to keep and bear arms. Only the legislature may enact Florida firearms and weapons laws or procedures. Under FDLE Commissioner Swearingen’s leadership, Florida’s top law enforcement agency became law breakers by illegally taking it upon themselves to violate the rights of Florida citizens.

Florida Law provides that: “790.065 (10) A licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer is not required to comply with the requirements of this section in the event of: … (b) Failure of the Department of Law Enforcement to comply with the requirements of subsections (2) and (3).”

FDLE is not complying. The FDLE Commissioner must be beyond reproach in ensuring that the Department of Law Enforcement operate in adherence to Florida law. We call on Governor DeSantis to direct FDLE to immediately comply with Florida firearms laws and exercise his unquestionable authority to take appropriate action in light of Commissioner Swearingen’s malfeasance in office.


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.


  1. Nice to see my membership money is being put to good use. If those who really believe in the rights of lawful gun owners don’t fight the BS which is jeopardizing the very essence of the 2nd Amendment, we are doomed. NO one is fighting harder than those at grass root levels like Florida Carry. Support wherever and whenever you can, by deed, monetary or truthfully written articles to those against gun ownership.

  2. Vincent Ambrose on

    If the FDLE does not immediately comply with Florida law then this should be grounds for indictment by Florida State. Go get them Florida Carry!

  3. I’ve had this happen to me a few times… And always when I purchase multiple items at one time. Had to wait a few days longer…

  4. It is truly crazy I had just received approval for 3 NFA items you’d think hey this is the federal government checking you out then after getting the stamps in FDLE decides to put me into decision pending how in the world.

  5. Michael Dornellas on

    I’ve been in decision pending for 5 months. They keep saying they’re waiting on updated paperwork on me but no timeline or anyway I can speed up the process. Kind of pisses me off!

    • Today marks day 9 of waiting. I call the FDLE everyday for an update…”decision pending”. Uh… What happens when the Florida Department of Law Enforcement breaks Florida Law!!?

  6. Today is Day 14 of waiting on the FDLE.
    I have been “Pending” since January 24th 2020. I call the FDLE and they say that they cannot give me a timeframe on when this process will be completed. Looks like I need to join the cause!

  7. Pete Mac Donald on

    Going on 3 months of waiting in limbo. Had an incident in Sept. that was dismissed. Faxed the court document w/ queue #’s. Nothing. Get the same line every time I call. Infuriating. Can a petition or letter to Desantis be started? What can I do to join the crusade?

  8. I am 3 weeks waiting on an approval. They issued a control number and I have a concealed carry permit but they tell me they don’t work with the department of Agriculture. It shouldn’t be this hard.

  9. Christine Casciani on

    Today is day 66 of waiting for approval. What should be done now? Just write a letter? Get a lawyer? Any suggestions? Thank you.

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