Florida about to register one million active conceal-carry permits

Fueled by fear of regulation from Washington

Gun instructor Frankie Bright has been teaching conceal-carry classes for three decades.

He says demand for classes is on the rise. "A lot of people are coming out and saying ‘listen, I would like to get a conceal carry permit so I can be legal.'"

The re-election of President Barack Obama and fear that Washington will pass stricter gun laws is fueling the run on guns, especially in Florida.  

At a news conference at the state Capitol Wednesday, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam announced a fast approaching milestone. "Florida will have one million active conceal weapons licenses next week."

Hitting the million permit mark will mean one out of every 19 people in the state will be armed.  219-thousand of them are seniors and 200-thousand are women, few commit crimes.

"Responsible use of these licenses is overwhelmingly the rule and with only .3 percent of licenses having been revoked for inappropriate use, I think the statistics support that," Putnam said.

At the shooting range, news of the millionth conceal carry license was received well.

"I really feel safer.  If you don't have a gun at your house and I have a gun in my house and somebody is going to break-in, who's house are they going to break in to?" Bright said.

The state hit a snag in 2009 as permits flooded in, but now the office issuing the licenses has been beefed up and applicants are being processed in about a month.

Florida's conceal carry licensing program was started in 1987.  Since then more than two million people have been issued permits.  Next week will make the first time more than a million have been active at once.  

Since 2000, the number of licenses requested has increased more than 580 percent.

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