Pinellas, Pasco tax collectors top state in concealed gun permits
Tax collectors in Pinellas and Pasco counties outpace their colleagues across the state in processing applications and renewals for concealed weapons licenses in Florida.
Data from Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam's office also shows that Pasco is the No. 1 county in permit renewals over the past year.
The Legislature passed a law in 2015 that allowed elected tax collectors to add gun permit paperwork to their array of services that include tax payments, driver licenses, auto tags and voter registration. The licenses themselves are issued by Putnam's agency after appicants undergo a background check.
In all, 25 of the state's 67 tax collectors provide the service. The two most populous counties, Miami-Dade and Broward, are not participants because both counties have appointed agency heads that perform the duties of tax collectors.
Tax Collectors Diane Nelson in Pinellas and Mike Fasano in Pasco have together processed more than 11,000 applications and renewals since July 1 of last year, more than one-fifth of the state total in tax collectors' offices of more than 51,000.
Putnam's office says Hernando, Monroe and Clay county tax collectors will begin processing applications within the next two months, followed by Sumter, Flagler and Jackson counties. Statewide, the next evolution of the program, set for a fall debut, is for tax collectors to print renewals in their offices.
In a memo to tax collectors, Putnam's licensing unit reminds tax collectors that applicants must fill out their applications. Putnam's office reports a few complaint calls from people who said a paperwork error was the result of a tax collector employee actually filling out the application.