SARASOTA - The State of Florida is coming up on a controversial milestone. It's about to issue its one-millionth concealed weapons permit.
On November 30th, the count for concealed weapon license in the state was more than 993,000, and in the past few weeks that number has been steadily rising. Sometime this week the state will reach the one-millionth marker for concealed weapon and firearm licenses.
It’s a trend that many say is being driven by several things -- one of which is political fears. “They're worried that the administration is going to ban guns, is going to take away your right, your Second Amendment right, going to take away your right to conceal carry and it gets into the big panic buy,” says Mike Mogowan of the Take Aim Gun Range.
Heather Campbell is among the group who recently applied for her concealed weapon license, and she has other concerns. “The concealed weapons class, I just did that this weekend and I mailed in my paperwork. And I did it for protection for my family.”
In addition to safety concerns, many say shooting is now becoming a popular sport for both men and women. “It's a lot of word of mouth, a lot of people are shooting. They say ‘oh, you have a gun’, or ‘I was thinking about getting a gun, what do you think?’ ‘Well I have a lot of fun, I'm go shooting down the range all the time.’ It's actually a family activity, so a lot of people are interested in it for recreation now,” says Mogowan.
Despite the reason for the boom, one thing’s for sure: come this week, Florida will be the only state to reach the one million concealed weapon license mark. And this weekend's gun show in Sarasota may even push the state over that line.
Florida has the most permits issued in the country, with Pennsylvania coming in second with just over 700,000 permits, and Georgia is third with around 600,000.