The number of Floridians with permission to pack heat has jumped nearly 50 percent in three years, reports the St. Petersburg Times. In 2005, a year before the state legislature’s decision to provide anonymity to people holding concealed weapons licenses, there were 347,350 active permits statewide. Now, that number has swelled to about 520,000. Some states ask applicants why they want a concealed weapons license. Florida isn’t one of them. That makes it almost impossible to say who is getting licensed and why.
The increased permits mean one out of about every 35 Floridians has the right to conceal a gun. Experts point to changes in the state’s gun laws as among reasons for the spike. A 2005 law expanded individuals’ right to defend themselves even if they’re away from home and a 2008 law allows employees with concealed weapons to take guns to work and keep them locked in cars. Legally speaking, having a license protects against the “hundreds of little pitfalls” of not having one, said Jon Gutmacher, an Orlando attorney and expert on the state’s gun laws.