This is my first post on this forum. I registered tonight just to pass on the great news regarding Florida’s new system for issuing CWFLs. I recently decided to get my concealed license and attended a weekend course at a gun show in West Palm Beach with a friend. The course was very well attended with just a few empty seats. In fact, the room was pretty much filled to capacity. I found the instructor, David Aronow
, to be professional, passionate, and entertaining. Mr. Aronow gave some sobering statistics regarding the massive increase over the past year in requests for concealed licenses, which only served to reinforce my decision to finally get mine (I’m in my mid-30s and a life-long Florida resident).
Something that got my attention during the class was the mention of a recent change in the way the State was accepting and processing applications. In addition to the standard method (complete the course, mail your certificate, application, fingerprint card, and check for $117 to the State, wait 90 days or more), it appeared you could now apply in person at one of several FDOACS Division of Licensing regional offices
. The Monday after I took the class I called the main office of the FDOACS in Tallahassee to confirm this new process. I then contacted the regional offices located in West Palm Beach and Orlando as I live about equidistant between the two. The lady in the West Palm Beach office was cordial but was clueless as to any new procedure. When I asked about the new expedited process she said that all applications were sent to Tallahassee via overnight courier and this was the extent of them being expedited. I knew this wasn’t what I had just confirmed with the head office, so I proceeded to call the Orlando office. The difference was night and day. The young lady on the other end of the phone explained in detail how the new process worked and then scheduled a joint appointment for me and my friend to apply. She explained that the application form I had previously completed would not be necessary nor would the fingerprint card or passport photo – everything would be done in the office. So, last Friday, August 14, my buddy and I drove to West Robinson Street in downtown Orlando for our 8:30 AM appointment. We arrived on time and were greeted by a friendly group of DOACS employees. After signing in, we were escorted back to our own computer terminals and were assisted in completing the form online after handing over our required completion certificates and payment ($117.00). As a side note, my friend missed entering one of the required fields and the computer notified him of the mistake prior to submission – foolproof. Once completed, our guides then printed out a copy of our application for us to review and later sign.
After our applications were printed we were escorted into an adjoining room for fingerprinting. The Orlando office has FOUR Live Scan
digital fingerprinting machines at their disposal. Again, similar to the application software, the Live Scan
machines notified the operator whether each scan was acceptable or not. I had to do a few over to get it right for the machine. Best of all, no ink on your fingers!
Next we got ready for our close ups. Our photos were taken and we were even asked if the photo was to our liking. It wasn’t going to matter in my case as I’m no Brad Pitt, so I took the first one.
Lastly, we signed our completed applications and another staff member notarized the form. The whole process for the two of us took just under thirty minutes from start to finish. Painless.
Of course, we then asked the $64,000 question: “How long will it take?” The staff member was hesitant to give us a timetable but did offer that we may receive our licenses “astonishingly fast.” So, my friend and I headed back home last Friday – after the requisite stop at Bass Pro Shops/Outdoor World – not knowing when to expect our licenses to arrive in the mail.
Flash forward just one week to yesterday. I called the number provided on the DOACS website for checking the status of your license. After listening to the pre-recorded female voice plead with me to wait at least 60 days before inquiring about the status, I hung up and decided I would wait it out.
Well, lo and behold, when my wife checked the mailbox today there was an envelope addressed to me from Commissioner Bronson. I could not believe my eyes! My application was stamped received in the Orlando office on Friday, August 15 and my license was issued the following Wednesday, August 19
. A friend of mine applied for his CWFL back in January and it took him 88 days to receive it. A friend of his applied this past spring and it took him about FIVE months to get his.
I quickly called my friend who applied along with me and told him the good news. He had been by the post office earlier in the day to drop off a package but was in a hurry did not check his box for new mail. I reminded him that his may take a little longer because he paid with a personal check and I used an official bank check. When his afternoon plans got rained out he decided to make another trip down to the post office. And, will wonders never cease, his license was sitting in his mailbox!
Ladies and gentlemen, this is THE
way from now on to apply for your CWFL in the state of Florida. There are (in Orlando at least) several helpful DOACS employees standing by ready to take your application. On my visit I was told that they rolled out the new system on August 5th. I believe my friend and I may have been the third and fourth people ever to use the system. I posted this message tonight to get the word out. The new system is rumor no more. Spread the news!