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Old May 12, 2009, 04:52 PM   #1
xsquidgator
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(ACTIVISM) Florida Legislature is raiding concealed weapons licensing trust fund

IF YOU HAVE OR INTEND TO GET OR RENEW A FLORIDA CWP OR NON-RESIDENT CWP, THIS AFFECTS YOU!
Please take a minute to send an email to Gov. Crist (see email templates below) and also call his office. There is a person there who answers the phone, who will write down your exact message, and will pass it to him. I called and emailed yesterday and am getting everyone I know to do the same.
xsquid



***ALERT- Legislators Raid CCW Trust Fund - try to intimidate Governor

DATE: May 11, 2009
TO: USF & NRA Member and Friends
FROM: Marion P. Hammer
USF Executive Director
NRA Past President

In a last minute sneak attack on gun owners, the Florida Legislature raided the concealed weapons and firearms licensing trust fund.

They took $6 million from the Division of Licensing Concealed Weapons and Firearm Trust Fund that is intended, by law, to be used solely for administering the concealed weapons and firearms licensing program. (Read background Information below)

Please Call, Fax, or Email Governor Charlie Crist IMMEDIATELY, and ask him to veto the $6 Million trust fund sweep from the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Licensing authorized under Section 59 of the Conference Report of SB-2600.

Phone number: (850) 488-4441 or (850) 488-7146
Fax number: (850) 487-0801

Send your email to the Governor at this address:

Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com

Please send your email today !!!!! And/or please contact the Governor's office by phone or fax ASAP

BACKGROUND:

Right now, the concealed weapons and firearms licensing program is backlogged and overloaded, due in part to the refusal of budget officials and the Legislature to allow the Division of Licensing to use its own trust fund money to hire more employees and expand/upgrade equipment.

Crates of unopened mail containing license and license renewal applications sit in storage. The backlog of mail sitting unopened, at times, has extended beyond 90 days while existing licenses are expiring because renewal applications haven't been opened and processed.

Currently (although the Division of Licensing has been working weekend shifts to clear the backlog), it is taking 13-14 weeks to process a "perfect" application once it has been opened. That is an unequivocal violation of the law that requires issuance or denial of a licence by a time certain –– a violation of law that legislative leaders are condoning by their actions.

THE LAW REQUIRES THE DIVISION OF LICENSING TO ISSUE A LICENSE WITHIN 90 DAYS OF RECEIPT OF THE APPLICATION -- or deny the license "for cause", based upon the criteria set forth in the law. Theft of operating funds by the Legislature is not "just cause" for failure to issue licenses or renewals within 90 days.

While applications sit gathering dust, legislative leaders took $6 Million of approximately $8 Million held in the trust fund. That $6 Million is supposed to be used to pay employees, buy upgraded equipment, upgrade or replace computers or software, and to otherwise administer the concealed weapons and firearms licensing program.

BUT, feigning a desperate need for funds for education and health care, legislative leaders recklessly and ruthlessly confiscated trust fund money. Why? Because they were building a so-called "working capital" fund for the 2010-12 legislative term, reported now to be in the neighborhood of $1.8 BILLION DOLLARS. This so-called "working capital fund" is for the use of future legislative leaders.

They didn't take that money for education. They didn't take that money for health care. They didn't take that money to save jobs. They didn't take that money to avoid pay cuts, or budget cuts -- they took the money to help build their own fund.

While Senate leadership reportedly fought to stop the ruthless raids on trust funds, in the end, they simply caved and let the House of Representatives prevail.

The bad behavior doesn't end there.

Obviously fearing the Governor would use his line-item veto to stop trust fund raids, proviso language was inserted in the bill in an clear attempt to intimidate the Governor.

The proviso language says that if any portion of the moneys swept from this and other trust funds does not become law (meaning it is vetoed), that portion of the money shall be deducted from the EDUCATION BUDGET. This is clearly designed to keep the Governor from vetoing trust fund sweeps, and prevent trust fund money from being taken back out the House leadership's so-called "working capital" fund.

Money in the concealed weapons trust fund came from gun owners. No money to administer and run the concealed weapons and firearms licensing program has ever come from general revenue, or any other state fund or revenue source. The taking of these gun owner user fees is an unauthorized tax on the exercise of the Second Amendment.

AGAIN, Please Call, Fax, or Email Governor Crist IMMEDIATELY, and ask him to veto the $6 Million raid on the Concealed Weapons & Firearms Trust Fund!

Send your email to the Governor at this address:

Charlie.Crist@MyFlorida.com

Please send your email today !!!!!

You may also call the Executive Office of the Governor at: (850) 488-7146
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Old May 12, 2009, 04:53 PM   #2
xsquidgator
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copy/paste into emails, if desired

If it will help, here's the message I sent which you're welcome to copy and paste into an email:
Quote:
Dear Governor Crist,
I was just informed by the Unified Sportsmen of Florida that the legislature is attempting to "sweep" $6 Million from the fund specifically set up to administer Florida's concealed weapons and firearms licensing program. This deeply concerns me, as even the fully-funded program has not been able to satisfactorily process all of the applications and renewal requests for Florida concealed weapon permits. I can only imagine how slowly and unreliably the program will run if the legislature succeeds in diverting money paid specifically for this purpose, towards other purposes. I am especially concerned since as someone who has had a Florida concealed weapons permit for some time, and have renewed it, that I have paid into this fund which has proven to be too tempting for the Florida legislature to keep from trying to take it for their own purposes.
PLEASE veto this $6M trust fund sweep from the Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Division of Licensing authorized under Section 59 of the Conference Report of SB-2600.

Sincerely,
and a slightly differently worded one that one of my friends sent:
Quote:
Dear Governor Crist,

I write to urge you to veto the pending bill that would raid the Department of Agriculture's concealed weapons licensing trust fund. It is my understandng that after the 2008 general election, concealed weapon permit license applications increased to such a level that the Department of Agriculture had to hire OPS staff to increase the department's ability to process applications in a timely manner, specifically within the 90 days prescribed by law.

Aside from the operational hardship the loss of the trust fund would cause, politically speaking there is a larger issue in that voters like me will view your approval of this raid as a clear signal that the interest of law abiding citizens of Florida is not important to you. These people are voters who will remember your actions during your next election whether it is for governor, senator, or any other office.

As a lifelong government employee I know there are other ways to meet your budget shortfall. There are other programs that can be cut by a few hundred thousand dollars here and there, and by scrutinizing such programs you could match the $6M concealed wepaon licensing trust fund in short order without burning your bridges with Second Amendment voters like me.

Please do the right thing!

Respectfully,
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Old May 12, 2009, 07:09 PM   #3
Al Norris
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I received the NRA-ILA alert, earlier today as well.

Good responses xsquid! Short, concise and to the point.
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Old May 12, 2009, 08:40 PM   #4
divemedic
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That explains why I haven't seen my permit yet. I sent the renewal in back in February. My permit expires June 12. I am not sure what I will do then. I may have to break the law and carry illegally. Or maybe not. I will call the office tomorrow to see what is up.
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Old May 13, 2009, 05:33 AM   #5
blume357
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Not surprised by this at all.. I don't think it has anything

to do with restricting CWPs ... it's just that the politicians realized they had a lot of money just sitting in the bank...

when I read somewhere a month or so ago that Florida Ag... was 10s of thousands of applications behind... I did the numbers at $117 a pop and realized the state was sitting on one whopping pile of change and it would not be long before somebody started thinking about wasting it.
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Old May 13, 2009, 04:48 PM   #6
xsquidgator
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Quote:
Not surprised by this at all.. I don't think it has anything
to do with restricting CWPs ... it's just that the politicians realized they had a lot of money just sitting in the bank...

when I read somewhere a month or so ago that Florida Ag... was 10s of thousands of applications behind... I did the numbers at $117 a pop and realized the state was sitting on one whopping pile of change and it would not be long before somebody started thinking about wasting it.
I agree, they're not trying to further restrict CWPs, but that will be the effect of it. That, and that all of us who've PAID ALREADY for permit applications and renewals are getting hosed. By making noise we can demonstrate to the remfs in Tallahassee (and D.C.) that it'll be easier for them to get gold by going and digging it out of the ground themselves rather than by trying to steal our fees and not provide us the service we've paid for.
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Old May 13, 2009, 05:44 PM   #7
divemedic
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I contacted an attorney today. As of the 20th, the state s in violation of the law in not issuing my permit. I am waiting for my meeting with him.
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