A growing number of people in the Orlando area are confronting rising violent crime by carrying guns, reports the Orlando Sentinel. Nearly 20,000 people in Orange County are legally carrying concealed guns. The number of licenses for concealed weapons in the county has jumped 20 percent in the past year and has risen 57 percent in the past five years. The state has sent out nearly a quarter-million applications for permits statewide this year, a 33 percent increase from five years ago.
“Having a concealed-weapon permit for most people is peace of mind,” said Larry Anderson, who manages the Shoot Straight gun shop and firing range in Apopka. “If someone is prepared for the worst-case scenario, they’re better off. As violent crime spiked across the nation, Florida in 1987 joined 34 other states in allowing residents who take a safety class and pass a background check to carry a hidden gun. Research shows that some form of resistance, including use of a weapon, does help thwart criminal attacks, said Lonn Lanza-Kaduce, who heads the criminology department at the University of Florida. It also increases the risk of injury or death to the victim. “That’s the wicked conundrum,” Lanza-Kaduce said. “You can’t have too many of these incidents before someone gets hurt.”