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Fear Factor: Concealed Weapons Approaching 1 Million in Florida as NRA Gains Ground

| April 4, 2012

Talk about concealed.

With more than 800,000 issued, nearly one in every 15 Florida adults has a license to carry a concealed weapon, according to data compiled by the state.

The number of concealed weapons permits has risen dramatically in recent years as new laws making it easier to obtain them have been placed on the books by lawmakers, spurred on by the National Rifle Association, one of the most effective lobbying forces in the capital city.

The laws have come under scrutiny since the death of Trayvon Martin, who was shot to death in February by a neighborhood watch member who was charged with a felony in 2005 (the charge was reduced then dropped when he agreed to enter a pre-trial diversion program) and who had a permit to carry a concealed weapon. George Zimmerman, 28, contends he was defending himself under Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” statute passed in 2005. He has not been charged. (An earlier version of this story had incorrectly stated that Zimmerman was a convicted felon.)

Gun control advocates say lax gun laws in Florida are at least partially to blame for Martin’s death. They also say Florida is being used as a test case for gun control legislation in other states.

“In Florida, being armed in public is such a casual formality that law enforcement does not issue the license to carry a loaded, concealed gun; that is done by the Department of Agriculture – the same agency charged with issuing permits to pick tomatoes or transport livestock,” said Dan Gross, of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, during recent congressional testimony.

Among Floridians over 18 years of age, about 6.5 percent have applied for and received permits to carry a concealed weapon. Add the 104,210 permits brought into the state by out-of-state visitors and the total rises to 906,924 as of Feb. 29, according to Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which administers the licensing program

Dixie County leads the state in the number of concealed weapons permits issued per capita, with nearly one in 10 residents of the rural county licensed to carry. It is followed by Monroe County, which is the Florida Keys, where 7.3 percent of the population is licensed.

Seven Florida Counties –Gilchrist, St. Johns, Sumter, Lafayette, Glades, Liberty and Calhoun– have the lowest per capita concealed weapons rates in the state, all under 3 percent.

Statewide, the per capita average is 4.2 percent. Take out children under 18, who make up about 21 percent of Florida’s population, and the rate rises to 6.1 percent.


Florida lawmakers in recent years have approved several bills to relax gun regulations and bolster protections for gun owning Floridians. Earlier this year, lawmakers sent a bill to Gov. Rick Scott that would allow military personnel and law enforcement to obtain concealed weapons permits before they turn 21, the age requirement for other applicants. The reasoning is those people carried guns around the military, so it seems odd to deny them the right once they get out.

Last year, Scott signed a pair of NRA-backed measures, including a proposal spelling out what doctors can ask patients about guns in their homes. With supermajorities in both chambers, the Republican-dominated Legislature sent Scott another NRA-backed gun bill that would punish local officials who consciously enact ordinances that are stricter than statewide standards.

State officials overseeing the licensing of concealed weapons experienced a deluge of requests in recent years. Officials said there was a fear that when President Obama was elected, gun laws would get tougher. Though they didn’t, it seems to have created a rush to get guns. The spike has also been attributed to the decline in the economy and fears of more lawlessness.

In 2009, nearly 120,000 applications to carry concealed weapons flooded into Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson’s office, creating a 55,000-application backlog despite efforts to add more staff to process the requests. Since then, the number of permits has grown from about 600,000 to more than 802,000.

Despite the attention brought by the Martin case, Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said lawmakers should refrain from “overreacting” and changing Florida’s slate of existing gun laws.

In recent years, Negron pushed for the legislation to pre-empt local gun ordinances.

“I don’t think we should use the Trayvon Martin tragedy, and it is a tragedy, to make changes to either “Stand Your Ground” or Florida statutes as they relate to concealed weapons,” Negron said.

–Michael Peltier, News Service of Florida

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45 Responses for “Fear Factor: Concealed Weapons Approaching 1 Million in Florida as NRA Gains Ground”

  1. There you go says:

    Obviously the people are speaking…they want to stand their ground!

       3 likes

  2. Christie 2012 says:

    A 50 year old man was pulled from his vehicle and beaten with a hammer by 2 teenagers only a few miles from where trayvon was killed in Sanford. Maybe if the gentleman was carrying his weapon, he would not be in ICU fighting for life and Johnny taxpayer would not paying for these 2 scumbags to in jail.
    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-04-02/news/os-two-arrested-seminole-beating-20120402_1_victim-arrest-affidavits-crimeline
    A 78 year old man assaulted by 6 youths:http://www.toledoblade.com/Police-Fire/2012/04/03/Man-78-recounts-assault-by-6-youths-in-E-Toledo.html

    IT’S EVERYDAY STORIES LIKE THIS: THAT’S WHAT STAND YOUR GROUND IS FOR!!!

       7 likes

  3. Sherry Epley says:

    Just to clarify my position, I was referring to purchasing and owning a gun, in general, in the state of Florida. Once a firearm is in one’s possession, how many policemen would it require to keep it from being concealed. . . really??? It would be very interesting to know how many people are “accidently” wounded or killed each year simply because a loaded gun was left in the wrong place, or someone used/cleaned a gun irresponsibly.

    A simple list of Florida gun statute notes from Wikipedia may be useful here:

    OverviewSubject/Law Long guns Handguns Relevant Statutes Notes

    State Permit to Purchase? No No None
    Firearm registration? No No None
    “Assault weapon” law? No No None
    Owner license required? No No None
    Carry permits issued? No Yes Chapter 790.06 Concealed carry only; no open carry allowed, even with permit
    State Preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes Chapter 790.33
    NFA weapons restricted? No No None
    Peaceable Journey laws? No No None Federal rules observed

       0 likes

    • Think first, act second says:

      Ms. Epley,
      If you want a thread on buying weapons, why not ask for one. This thread specifically says “Fear Factor: Concealed Weapons Approaching 1 Million in Florida as NRA Gains Ground” not purchasing guns.Gun control is one issue, carrying one of them concealed is another and there is a legal way to do that and an illegal one. Everyone, except you, has been discussing that thread, which you also make reference to in your post. I tried to find which Wiki post lists what you say, but could not, what I did find was the Florida Statute that tells how to obtain a permit to carry one concealed, 790.01 which references 790.06. You might want to try that one and you will know what we are talking about.

      [Think First: please don't arbitrate what commenters may or may not address in each thread. That's our job, and we try to be light-handed about it, much as some commenters occasionally make that difficult. Ms. Epley's comment is well within the bounds of our policy--as are your fine and enlightening ones as well. Thanks.FL]

         1 likes

  4. Sherry Epley says:

    Here is a link to a well worth reading analysis of gun related deaths in different states, from an article published in ” The Atlantic” in 2011: http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/01/the-geography-of-gun-deaths/69354/

       1 likes

    • Think first, act second says:

      I looked at this link and some of the information is alarming, but Florida is the only one I live in and the one I am interested in, and also the subject of this thread. Florida is mid range of the issues and the article also says this “Firearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation”
      which to me means concealed weapons controls.

         1 likes

  5. B. Claire says:

    Fear Factor: Concealed Weapons Approaching 1 Million in Florida as NRA Gains Ground
    ——————————————————–

    ADD to this 1 Million licensed guns + the thousands more unregulated gun show gun purchases, sold out of car trunks guns, stolen guns etc.

    This where we’re heading? This finally make you gun-ed up enough?

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-SkyQDCH3DrY/TqequgxyQ8I/AAAAAAAAH7g/3VCv1viYRiY/s1600/HugeGun.jpg

       1 likes

  6. Layla says:

    Gun Control:

    The theory that a woman found dead in an alley, raped and strangled, is somehow morally superior to a woman explaining to police how her attacker got that bullet wound.

       2 likes

  7. Justin says:

    I am very pro-gun, have a concealed weapons permit, and even a legally-attained silencer. But I do agree that guns and CCW permits are issued a little too easily, but the problem with regulation is that many times they trample basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution. And like how it is with almost any new law/regulation: if you give a little you pave the way to have a lot taken away. But that being said, I would not fight against making the background checks a little more extensive, especially when it comes to getting a CCW. I can say that in my experience talking with other people, alot of them have the wrong idea of when it is legal to even pull a gun out, let alone pull the trigger(the only time you should pull a gun out is because you’re about to pull the trigger), so better education is really needed when someone takes the CCW course. The Stand Your Ground Law means you don’t HAVE to flee an attack, that you can meet force with EQUAL force. But obviously, shooting someone should be the absolutely LAST resort. Not just for legal reasons, but for humane. Even in “clean” shoots, you will probably experience backlash in some way or another that will make you wish you never had to shoot. When I bought my silencer I had to get it signed off by the sheriff, pay a $200 fee, and the ATF handled the background check and registration. Maybe they should handle CCW too? I admit that many people have a CCW permit who really probably shouldnt.

       1 likes

    • B. Claire says:

      Hi Justin,
      Thnx for your post…interesting.

      And the reason for the silencer….is….?

         2 likes

      • Justin says:

        Hearing protection!! J/K. Just because I thought it was cool. Guys(alot, anyways) like guns & action movies. Put the two together and you have the desire to buy one for yourself. It’s just another “toy”. Like any un-needed thing, whether it be fast cars/motorcycles, 80″ flat-screen TV’s, granite counter top, etc.: u get it because u like it, and just because u can! And just in case anyone is interested, they’re not as quiet as the movies make them out to be!

           0 likes

  8. palmcoaster says:

    There is a place for concealed weapons even worst than Fl, and is Arizona where you don’t even need a permit to carry a concealed weapon…since Jane Drinkwine Brewer signed into law. http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-250_162-6404742.html

       1 likes

    • B. Claire says:

      Ever notice…new maps of U.S. … FL, TX & AZ shows chalk outlines in lieu of borders around their states?

      Govs Scott, Perry, Brewer soooooo proud!

         1 likes

  9. kafantaris says:

    It is time that we look at the Trayvon Martin killing for what it is — a criminal homicide, only incidental to race. One cannot draw a much different conclusion by listening to the cries for help heard in the recorded 911 calls.
    Even without them, however, it seems improbable that a confident, stocky-build man, with a gun in his holster, would need to beg for help — notwithstanding the claims of Zimmerman, his father and his brother. Our understanding of human nature and common sense tells us that such cries would come from someone who is severely threatened and acutely aware of his imminent death.
    Any doubts of this are removed by merely listening to those multiple “help, help” pleas loud enough to be picked up during the 911calls. Aside from their heart-wrenching intensity, we also note that these cries go on for over a minute. Was Zimmerman telling Martin during that time that he was about to pull the trigger? Why else would Martin need to plead for help with such desperation?
    If Zimmerman was threatening to shoot Martin in those two minutes before we hear the shot, what we have then is a cold blooded murder – and by one clever enough to now use our racial divide to get away with it. We should see through this tactic and not let him do so. Not only because such defense would further divide us, but also because an unrepentant criminal would get away with murder.
    http://soundclick.com/share.cfm?id=11548279

       2 likes

    • Think first, act second says:

      I have an idea, kafantaris, why don’t we wait for a grand jury to hear ALL of the evidence before we, who know only part of it, make a decision that it was an illegal act. You are probably one of those who complains about all of the innocent people (wrongly convicted) in prison, I am, but not the guilty ones (rightfully convicted.)
      Justin, what good would making the background checks more intense do, I do agree that a very thorough investigation should be made, but it is not those who plan to use a gun for an illegal act that are applying, those don’t want any information about them owning a gun available.

         1 likes

  10. Layla says:

    I will be VERY relieved when they are finished with this investigation. As for concealed carry, from what I am reading it does not look like they are investigating those supposed background checks. Not much good, if they don’t. Zimmerman was told to retreat and he did not. That seems to be key here. I don’t see any defense against that.

    I am also very concerned about those wanting to yell racism. We don’t know if that is true yet. Please be patient and allow the law to work. If it was racial, we have Hate Crimes law which could be used.

    I am worried about the people in Sanford. They have been through a lot.

       1 likes

  11. Howard Duley says:

    You can only get killed once so I don’t know what all the fuss is about. I for one am going to do everything I can to stay alive including killing the person who is a threat to me. The police are always late to a murder. have you ever noticed that?

       1 likes

  12. john stewart says:

    Two black men pulled a 50 year old white man from his car and beat his head in with a hammer..he is now in ICU on life support..I bet if he was carry a legal handgun..this would have turned out a lot different. Same town..Sanford fl..

       1 likes

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