The coincidence of two recent events has brought the issue of gun ownership to the forefront in Florida: the state has issued its 1 millionth active concealed weapon permit, the highest of any state, and the shooting of 20 first graders in Newtown, Conn.
With 1 million active concealed weapons permits,that means about one in 14 eligible Floridians hold a permit, according to the Palm Beach Post. We asked members of the Public Insight Network whether that news made them feel safer. Osmany from Hialeah said
I feel more safe as a matter of fact with more gun permits because it means more people are educated on the matter. My issue is whether we are going about the right measures to ensure background checks are conducted so that the mentally ill are not armed.
Whether there are adequate protections to ensure that “dangerous” people do not have guns was a concern echoed by gun owner Mike from Miami:
1,000,000 permitted weapons-holders just means it is statistically more likely that there is a dangerous person with a gun, or a person with a gun will become dangerous. Last week in Tampa a gunfight broke out in a pizza shop over a petty dispute. So, I feel more AND less safe at the same time...
But Maryanne from Hollywood says that lawful gun possession is really beside the point:
About 4% of those with concealed weapons permits get arrested for gun crime. The majority of those are cases where the gun was not even fired. It is the criminals who use illegally obtained guns in order to commit crime whom we should worry about.
For Francis of Miami, the number of concealed weapons permit means more law-abiding people are able to protect themselves.
Absolutely, we must be able to protect our family at any cost. Evil is always lurking and if you are not prepared then you become a victim.
South Florida gun retailers tell the Miami Herald that sales have quickened since the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school. Tragedies such as the Newtown killings often prompt an uptick in gun sales as owners worry that that restrictions will soon follow.
What do you think about Florida’s status as the state with the most active concealed weapon permits? Tell us how the Sandy Hook shooting has affected your views on gun control, if at all, and help us understand the issues affecting South Florida. We will be discussing this issue on The Florida Roundup Friday at noon.