Florida reaches 1 million mark with concealed weapons

4:45 PM, Dec 19, 2012   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - As the nation starts focusing on gun laws following the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Florida officially passes the one million mark for concealed weapons licenses issued by the state.

This week Florida handed out its one millionth concealed gun license. On Tuesday, the number stood at 1,000,645.

Now the state has the most active gun licenses in the nation.

Florida has seen increasing demand for these licenses in recent years. About 170,000 people applied in the 2010 fiscal year.

So the state has hired more workers to handle the extra workload and expanded its Fast Track system. It allows gun owners to renew their weapons licenses faster. Florida operates eight Fast Track offices where gun owners can apply for a concealed weapons license or renew it.

Florida's concealed weapons license program started in 1987. In the past 25 years, the state has issued a total of 2.3 million licenses.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who supervises the program, says only about 7,000 licenses, or 0.03 percent, have been revoked so that shows Floridians overall have been responsible gun owners.

"It is a fact that it is now the highest number in the nation and I think the fact that so many Floridians have obtained it and so many Floridians have responsibly used that license is a testament to our neighbors, to our fellow Floridians, that they've taken advantage of this opportunity and they've used it wisely and responsibly."

A gun law passed in 2011 allows concealed weapons license holders to bring their guns into the state Capitol, but weapons are banned in the House and Senate chambers, as well as committee rooms.

Last week, a reporter asked Putnam if he owned a concealed weapons license and if he ever brought a weapon into the Capitol.

"That's none of your business," he joked, then added, "No, I am a concealed weapons license holder."

"Do you ever carry that gun in the Capitol?" the reporter asked. 

"I have not."

"Why not? It's legal?"

"Next question."

Four out of five concealed weapons license holders are men but Putnam says more women are showing an interest in getting them.

Here are the demographics of who owns the licenses by age:

18-35: 182,000

36-50: 267,000

51-65: 325,000

Over 65: 219,000

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