The night Trayvon Martin was shot to death, George Zimmerman was one of 1,903 residents in his ZIP code–6 percent of adults–with permits to carry concealed handguns, reports the Orlando Sentinel. That would be astronomically high in some states, but central Sanford doesn’t rank in Central Florida’s top 10 ZIP codes with the most concealed-weapons-permit holders. Taking guns to work, church, and play in Florida has become so widespread in the past 25 years that the state likely leads the U.S. in the number of residents legally carrying guns–one in 17 adults. With nearly 920,000 active concealed-weapons permits, the Sunshine State is home to almost as many gun dealers as its 2,300 citrus farms.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence cites the unarmed Martin’s death as reason to oppose a nationwide effort under way to let concealed-weapons-permit holders carry their handguns in all 50 states. Right now, Floridians can travel armed in 32 other states. Former National Rifle Association President Marion Hammer, the lobbyist behind Florida’s passage of the nation’s first stand-your-ground law in 2005, accused gun-control advocates of exploiting Trayvon’s death. “They let no tragedy go unused. They trample on tragedies for political advantage and political gain,” she said.