One in Every 17 Floridians Can Carry a Concealed Gun
The rise comes after state legislators made it cheaper to buy and renew permits -- and continues even as the Trayvon Martin case raises questions about whether a concealed gun bonanza plus Stand Your Ground equals a bit too much incentive for vigilantes among us.
The trend, taken in a vacuum, seems a bit odd. Violent crime is on a downward trend across the country, including in the Sunshine State, and though there's a Democrat in the White House, Obama has barely spoken about gun control except to famously promise he wouldn't "take away folks guns."
Yet the NRA and other groups have warned that a second Obama administration could bring tighter controls and in Florida, they're listening.
"People are beginning to realize that their liberties are potentially in jeopardy," Robert Stokes, president of the Florida affiliate of the NRA, tells the Naples Daily News.
The Daily News found that FBI background checks for gun purchases have risen 14 percent in 2012. As of March, there are 919,831 concealed carry permits statewide -- equal to 6.5 percent of adults in the state.
Florida's gun laws have been under a national spotlight since Martin's killing by George Zimmerman, the self-appointed watchman with a concealed weapons permit who's been shielded by Stand Your Ground.
"This man George Zimmerman, is a living example (problems with concealed carry)," Dan Gross, president of the pro-gun control Brady Project, told the Capitol News Service. "This is a guy who had an arrest record, this is a guy who had a violent past. This is a guy who in numerous other states would never be offered a permit to carry a loaded, hidden, handgun."
Gov. Rick Scott, though, has pushed NRA-backed bills, including one to forbid doctors from asking patients about gun ownership and another that would punish local officials for passing gun control rules.
State legislators also dropped the price for a concealed permit by $15 to $70.
The most heat-packing county in Florida? As of March, it's rural Dixie County, where close to 10 percent of adults have permits; our neighbors to the south in Monroe County aren't far behind, coming in second with 7.3 percent licensed to carry.
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