Floridians in record numbers want to carry concealed weapons, a trend linked to a surge in crime, economic anxiety, and fears of stricter gun laws, reports the Miami Herald. The state is buried under a backlog of 95,000 applications for concealed-weapons permits and it needs to hire a lot more people to handle the paperwork. A legislative panel yesterday OK’d $3.9 million to hire 61 temporary workers.
”Once the economy gets bad, crime always goes up,” said Agriculture Commissioiner Charles Bronson, a police officer. “People get desperate whenever things are not going the way they feel like they should be going, and they’ll do things they normally wouldn’t do.” The state reported a surge in applications in November after the election of President Barack Obama, who in the past advocated stricter gun control laws but who also campaigned as a defender of Second Amendment rights. Florida got 75,679 first-time concealed-weapon permit applications in 2007 and 86,269 in 2008, in addition to tens of thousands of renewal forms. About 541,000 Floridians have permits for concealed weapons.