Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

NRA won’t push to change oversight of Florida’s concealed weapon program - for now

But National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer also made clear she and the other concealed-carry permit holders in the state -- there were 1.95 million as of Jan. 15 --- will be watching how Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried handles the high-profile program.
NRA Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer
NRA Florida lobbyist Marion Hammer
Published Feb. 8, 2019

Florida’s most influential gun-rights lobbyist says don’t move -- at least for now -- the state’s concealed-weapons licensing program from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

But in a thin olive branch to Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer in a letter posted online Tuesday also made clear she and the other concealed-carry permit holders in the state --- there were 1.95 million as of Jan. 15 --- will be watching how Fried handles the high-profile program.

“We believe the program should stay where it is and it’ll be up to Commissioner Fried to keep her campaign promise to correct any problems a legitimate investigation reveals,” Hammer wrote. “And if she really wants to be a workhorse and not a show horse, we’ll be happy to hold her coat or help if she wants our help.”

Hammer and Fried have verbally dueled since last year’s election campaign over the licensing program and the lobbyist’s access to the agency under former Republican Commissioner Adam Putnam, who became embroiled in allegations of mismanagement of the program.

Fried, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat who has said “Hammer no longer runs this department,” at one time tweeted that the agriculture department was the wrong place for the concealed-carry program and supported a move to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Since then, Fried has downplayed a bill (SB 108) by Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, to relocate the program to the FDLE. Fried has also repeated that her priority is to take a “deep dive” into recommendations about the program from an internal report and a separate inspector general’s report.

“From all the reports we saw there, this was mismanaged by the office, a climate that showed pushing the applications out as fast as possible without the double checks,” Fried said last week.

Fried has also named former Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Mary Barzee Flores, a gun-control advocate, as her department’s deputy commissioner for consumer affairs, with one duty being to oversee concealed-weapons licensing.

Hammer in November said the program needed to remain under a statewide elected official, with a preference going to Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, a Panama City Republican.

However, Republican legislative leaders haven’t publicly endorsed such a move.

And while Hammer maintained in this week’s letter that the program should remain with a statewide elected official, “who must swear to uphold the Constitution and the law and can be held accountable by the people,” she also retained her opposition to moving the program to law enforcement.

In her letter, Hammer advised her organization’s members that Fried and Barzee Flores “can’t use their personal political philosophies to re-tool or dismantle a program governed by the Constitution and the law.”

“Fried campaigned on a pledge to fix problems with the program, not destroy it,” Hammer continued. “We actually welcome efforts to fix any real problems --- but they have to be actual problems, not imagined or manufactured problems like those in the media.

“We’re willing to let Commissioner Fried show Floridians that she can be fair and properly administer the program. If she’s afraid to keep the Licensing program, we’ll find out soon enough.”

RELATED COVERAGE: NRA sway: For Florida officials, it’s always Hammer time

Adam Putnam’s office stopped reviewing concealed weapons background checks for a year because it couldn’t log in

Why does Florida’s agriculture department handle concealed gun permits? The NRA wants it to.

Nikki Fried to NRA: ‘I won’t be beholden to you’




ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. Gov. Ron DeSantis. [STEVE CANNON  |  AP]
    Florida students will read more classical literature and learn math differently, according to summary documents.
  2. Florida House Speaker José Oliva made hospital deregulation one of his top priorities. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
    Speaker José Oliva slammed pharmaceutical companies in his opening day speech, but a bill to place $100 caps on co-payments for insulin will not pass this year. In fact, it won’t even get a hearing.
  3. The Florida Supreme Court, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Judge Renatha Francis has not been a member of the Florida Bar for 10 years.
  4. State Rep. Adam Hattersley, D-Riverview, speaks before volunteers with the gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action outside the Florida Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. [[LAWRENCE MOWER | Tampa Bay Times]]
    Like it has since the Parkland massacre, the gun debate is growing fierce in Tallahassee. But there are some significant changes this year.
  5. West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James talks with his Director of Communications Kathleen Walter while going over the state of the city address in his office at the City of West Palm Beach municipal building in West Palm Beach, Florida on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.  [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    West Palm Beach Mayor Keith James leads a city about the same size as Buttigieg’s South Bend. Here’s what his day looks like. Is this presidential experience?
  6. The Florida Supreme Court, Wednesday, May 1, 2019. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    “Death is indeed different,” wrote the lone dissenting justice. “This Court has taken a giant step backward."
  7. State Rep. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, presents legislation to create a new chapter of Florida law dedicated to parents' rights when dealing with government and other agencies, during a committee meeting Jan. 23, 2020. [The Florida Channel]
    Parents have been marginalized by bureaucracy, and need to be empowered in law, sponsor Rep. Erin Grall says.
  8. Wichita State Shockers center Jaime Echenique (21) and USF Bulls guard David Collins (0) battle for the loose ball during the second half at the Yuengling Center in Tampa on Tuesday. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Lawmakers may require public colleges and universities to ask permission before selling naming rights.
  9. The Florida Capitol at the start of the legislative session on Jan. 14, 2020, in Tallahassee. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) [STEVE CANNON  |  AP]
    If the proposal is approved by the Senate, it would appear before voters in November.
  10. Robert Ray, a member of President Trump's defense team, arrives at the Capitol in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The U.S. Senate plunges into President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial with Republicans abruptly abandoning plans to cram opening arguments into two days but solidly rejecting for now Democratic demands for more witnesses to expose what they deem Trump’s “trifecta” of offenses. Trump himself claims he wants top aides to testify, but qualified that by suggesting there were “national security” concerns to allowing their testimony. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) [CLIFF OWEN  |  AP]
    Trump reportedly wanted a star-studded team capable of performing on TV.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement