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, according to the St. Petersburg Times. And now 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.
“Once the economy gets bad, crime always goes up,” said Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson, a certified 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 Obama. Florida had 75,679 first-time concealed weapons permit applications in 2007 and 86,269 in 2008, in addition to tens of thousands of renewal forms. About 541,000 Floridians are permitted to carry concealed weapons. Nationwide, retailers report a surge in sales of firearms in recent months. Some Florida stores have run out of ammunition.