Advertisement
  1. News
  2. /
  3. Health

After shutdown delays some Florida concealed weapon permits, lawsuit charges rights were violated

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to require the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which oversees concealed-weapons licenses, to resume accepting applications online.

TALLAHASSEE — Amid political fighting about the issue, a Northwest Florida resident has filed a lawsuit challenging a decision by state Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to suspend accepting online applications for concealed-weapons licenses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cliff Maloney, an Okaloosa County resident who is president of the group Young Americans for Liberty, filed the lawsuit Friday in Leon County circuit court, alleging the decision by Fried violated his 2nd Amendment rights and state law.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to require the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which oversees concealed-weapons licenses, to resume accepting applications online.

“(The) department and the commissioner have subjectively, arbitrarily and capriciously denied the rights of honest, law-abiding persons, which the statute was designed to protect, by making it more difficult for them to obtain concealed weapon licenses,” the lawsuit said.

As many state offices closed in March because of COVID-19, Fried announced that the department would not accept online applications for concealed-weapons licenses. In an April 22 letter to Attorney General Ashley Moody, Fried wrote that a directive from Gov. Ron DeSantis to close offices “rendered our department unable to take fingerprints for concealed weapons license applicants at this time.”

Floridians, however, could continue to submit applications by mail or through county tax collector offices, with applications being processed, Fried wrote in the letter.

The decision by Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat, has led to political fighting, with groups such as the National Rifle Association criticizing her and groups such as the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence supporting her. It also led to a somewhat-unusual terse exchange of letters last month between Moody and Fried about the issue.

That was followed last week by a Fried political committee sending out an email that attacked the NRA and Moody.

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

GET THE DAYSTARTER MORNING UPDATE: Sign up to receive the most up-to-date information, six days a week

WHAT’S OPEN?: This list includes local establishments doing business in various ways.

LOCAL RESTAURANTS: The updated database of Tampa Bay restaurants open for dine-in or takeout

UNEMPLOYMENT Q&A: We answer your questions about Florida unemployment benefits

BRIGHT SPOTS IN DARK TIMES: The world is hard right now, but there’s still good news out there

LISTEN TO THE CORONAVIRUS PODCAST: New episodes every week, including interviews with experts and reporters

HAVE YOU LOST SOMEONE YOU LOVE TO COVID-19?: Help us remember them

HAVE A TIP?: Send us confidential news tips

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on the coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement