Florida lawmakers are moving a bill forward that would change how quickly people can obtain gun licenses.
If passed, the new law would allow people to get approval for a license before their criminal background check is complete.
Adam Putnam, the state’s elected department of agriculture commissioner and a candidate for governor, is seeking the law change.
In the 114-page bill, the provision about concealed carry licenses isn't mentioned until page 102, after a long list of items dealing with topics such as livestock, citrus production and oyster harvesting.
Patti Brigham, the vice president of the League of Women Voters of Florida and the co-chair of the Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, says the placement of the proposal is irresponsible.
"It sure feels like they’re hiding something," Brigham said. "It is not a reflection of a transparent democracy when you bury language so deeply into a bill that can affect so many Floridians."
She is actively trying to fight House Bill 553 from becoming a reality.
If passed, the state would have to issue a concealed carry license 90 days after an application, regardless of the background check being completed. If compromising information is found later, the license would be suspended.
MAD DADS president Donald Foy says that suspension could be too little, too late.
"He could go and do what he’s going to do the next day or the same day he gets the weapon," Foy said. "This is not good, we support having a full background check before getting a weapon."
He supports the second amendment but says this is not what it’s intended for.
"You have individuals with mental health issues moving here from other states, without the criminal background check you wouldn’t know that," he said.
General Counsel for pro-gun group Florida Carry attorney Eric Friday says other states dragging their feet on sharing background information with Florida shouldn’t negatively impact anyone wanting a gun permit.
"Florida requests California to provide certain information to them and the state of California refuses to respond at all," Friday said. "I mean the criminal is responsible for their action, but I will say the state of California will have blood on its hands if that happens."
Friday said people are being denied licenses because of age-old convictions that aren’t clear.
"These problems are arising because these checks were taking place before the criminal system we have in place now."
The bill in the Senate is going to the appropriations committee. The bill in the house is now on its way to a floor vote after passing through five committees. Most lawmakers have voted in favor of changing the law.