Article in Tampa Tribune (FL)


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steverjo
September 6, 2009, 07:22 AM
http://www2.tbo.com/content/2009/sep/06/na-floridians-feeling-the-heat/

In Sunday's Tampa Tribune (FL), the above article appeared on page 1. Overall, it appears to be a fair and unbiased account of the increased permits being issued by the State of Florida. I find it intersting that the agency processing the permists is looking to add 61 additional employees to handle the increased work load.

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rbernie
September 6, 2009, 10:23 AM
The article:TAMPA - More Floridians want to carry a gun these days. A lot more.

Applications for concealed-weapons permits are on pace to double last year's number, with more than 20,000 people making requests in July alone. It's the biggest surge this decade, the state said.

But it's nothing to worry about, said the agency that processes the requests.

"You're talking about law-abiding citizens ... as opposed to criminals, who don't have concealed-weapons permits," said Terry McElroy, spokesman in Tallahassee for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

But talk to some of the people who hold the permits and you will learn they have worries.

"People are angry and desperate," said Sandra Charbonier, 59, of Tampa, a permit holder. "You watch the news and see people very stressed out."

Crime rates don't explain the rush to pack heat, said Robert Batey, a professor at Stetson University College of Law in St. Petersburg.

Crime has gone up slightly since last summer, based on rough data available, but not as much as predicted with the recession, Batey said.

"The crimes that have risen the most - for example, identity theft and related forms of fraud - are not crimes that a gun will help to prevent," he said.

Whatever the state of the nation, McElroy said, people who choose to chat with state license processors give explanations that fall into three broad areas: the economy, the desire to carry a gun in the car and concerns about new federal controls.

"Since the change in the makeup of Congress and the administration, there has been a concern on the part of some, rightly or wrongly, that there may be a gradual crackdown or curtailment of gun rights," McElroy said.

First-time buyers

The rise in permit applications confirms a growing interest in gun ownership, which dates to the recent rise of Democrats in Congress and the White House.

In 2007, 405,738 Floridians filed firearms applications with the Department of Justice, which requires a criminal background check on those attempting to buy firearms. That number rose to 482,060 in 2008, an 18.8 percent jump.

Joe Petrella, owner of Take Aim in Pinellas Park, said he has watched demand grow and shrink during his 20 years selling weapons. He said it's higher than ever.

"We get these rushes," Petrella said. "It happened with hollow-point ammunition. It happened with assault weapons when they were talking about a ban."

Today, though, "it's been difficult to keep the store stocked. ... Manufacturers are putting out as much as they can."

Bruce Kitzis of Shoot Straight in Tampa agreed that demand is up for all types of weapons. But the typical customer, Kitzis said, is someone seeking a handgun for home protection.

"I'm seeing lots of first-time buyers," he said.

Kitzis is also seeing more older people and women taking the classes that are required for a concealed-weapons permit.

Not everyone who gets the permit wants to slip a gun into a hidden holster or purse.

You need a concealed-weapons permit to drive with a gun to work or to take it just about anywhere for a purpose other than hunting or target shooting. Aside from the work requirement, a gun in your car is OK if it is "securely encased." Walking around with a gun showing, Wild West style, is prohibited.

Philip Fleming, 75, of Sun City Center, got a concealed-weapons permit six years ago to protect him and his wife on trips to St. Petersburg and Tampa.

Lately, he has been thinking about what could happen in his house.

"I really think that if worse comes to worse, God forbid that that ever happens, you would need to have something to protect your home," he said.

Charbonier, the Tampa woman, didn't want a gun when she obtained a concealed-weapons permit years ago. But her father was worried about her safety and got one for her.

She kept her .32-caliber revolver at home, she said. Now she's considering driving with it. "You hear about road rage and all this stuff."

Marion Hammer, a Tallahassee lobbyist and former National Rifle Association president, attributes the increase in permit applications, and gun and ammunition sales, to the times in which we're living.

"When people feel threatened, they react," she said. "They take whatever action they feel is necessary to protect themselves and their families from the criminal environment and the political environment."

Three out of every 100 people in Florida have a permit - 608,000 total. In Hillsborough County, 2.5 people out of every 100 hold a permit. The numbers vary widely from county to county, though.

On the high end, six people per 100 hold permits in Dixie County, at the mouth of the Suwannee River in the Big Bend area. The low end is next door in Gilchrist County, where one out of a 100 people holds a permit.

Among Florida's five most-populous counties, only Palm Beach exceeds the state average. In the Tampa Bay area, permits per capita are highest in Hernando County, with 4.2 people having them per 100.

From January through July, Floridians applied for 96,000 concealed-weapons permits statewide, compared with 90,331 in all of 2008. At that pace, the number of 2009 applications will be more than twice the number in 2008.

With a backlog of tens of thousands of applications, the state Agriculture Department recently asked for money to temporarily hire 61 additional workers.

Demand up everywhere

Requests for weapons permits are rising across the country. The Texas Department of Public Safety says it is hiring temporary workers to help process a surge in applications. Oklahoma, like Florida, reports a near doubling of applications.

Concealed-weapons laws vary from state to state, an issue that gained attention in Congress this summer with an effort to allow any permit holder to carry a concealed weapon in any state. The measure never gained traction.

As it is, a Florida permit holder can carry a concealed weapon in 31 states under state-to-state reciprocity agreements. In addition, nearly 62,000 people from other states hold Florida concealed-weapons permits.

Florida, like most states, does not ask why you're applying for a permit. Private investigators, security guards and repossession agents carry guns under a separate licensing process, said state spokesman McElroy, so holders of concealed-weapons permits "are, for lack of a better term, mainly laypeople."

To get one, you submit an application through the mail or at one of seven offices of the state Division of Licensing, pay a $118 fee and take the class. The permit is good for seven years.

Just 1 percent of people seeking a new permit or a renewal were rejected in fiscal 2008-09. During the same period, 3,600 people of the more than 600,000 holders had their permits revoked or suspended. A permit is suspended for those charged with a felony or any crime of violence, or if an injunction for domestic violence is issued. With a conviction, it's revoked.

Since 2006, after action by the Legislature, those who hold concealed-weapons permits remain secret. The Division of Licensing last month rejected a public records request from The Tampa Tribune for any information about permit holders - including age, gender and ZIP code - except the date a permit was issued.

Larry Chase of Tampa obtained his permit several years ago, so his name appears on the last list available to the public. Chase thought he might get into security work but never did, and never bought a gun because he has children at home.

He's not sure why so many people are seeking permits now, but he suspects a conspiracy by those in the gun business.

"Maybe they say, 'Let's float this idea that the Democrats are going to take all the guns out of our hands,'" Chase said. "Then it gets stirred up and repeated, and people decide they need to get a gun."

There are no moves afoot publicly by the top leaders in Florida or Washington to impose new restrictions.

But Kitzis at Shoot Straight hears it, too.

"There's always a million rumors over what is going to change. It depends on which rumor mill you wish to listen to," he said.

Chase may not buy into the rumors, but he's hanging on to his permit. He renewed it in April.

SFB
September 6, 2009, 10:39 AM
I am currently waiting patiently on my permit.. But I find it funny that the estimated time for a permit is 3-5 months when it only took them one week from the time I sent it to cash my check.

chuckusaret
September 6, 2009, 11:09 AM
You need a concealed-weapons permit to drive with a gun to work or to take it just about anywhere for a purpose other than hunting or target shooting. Aside from the work requirement, a gun in your car is OK if it is "securely encased."

Confusing, you don't need a permit to carry a weapon in your car in Florida other than where disallowed by Florida Statute. To place the weapon in the closed glove box meets the securely encased requirement.

To get one, you submit an application through the mail or at one of seven offices of the state Division of Licensing, pay a $118 fee and take the class. The permit is good for seven years.

Wrong again, not all people have to take the class. Prior military need only to provide a copy of their DD214 to meet the class requirements. The fee is not $118.00 it is $117.00. Note of interest; By applying thru one of the regional offices it has been found that the overall waiting period for the permit is reduced by as much as thirty days. The regional offices will also assist in the application process and fingerpriniting requirements according to the West Palm Beach Fl. regional Office.

SFB
September 6, 2009, 11:29 AM
Active duty military only needs to provide a copy of your military ID. Also the state fee is only $75.00, plus the cost of fingerprints. If you get digital prints done it is about $6 +/- cheaper than the ole ink and paper ones.

scurtis_34471
September 6, 2009, 01:49 PM
In order to be protected from employer action, you have to have a Concealed Weapon License to keep your gun locked up in your car at work.

Having a license also removes some of the restrictions on how a gun must be carried in a car.

Having a license also exempts you from the three-day waiting period.

chuckusaret
September 6, 2009, 09:56 PM
In order to be protected from employer action, you have to have a Concealed Weapon License to keep your gun locked up in your car at work.
Having a license also removes some of the restrictions on how a gun must be carried in a car.

Sir, I suggest you read Florida Statute 790.251. Protection of the right to keep and bear arms in motor vehicles for self-defense and other lawful purposes; prohibited acts; duty of public and private employers; immunity from liability; enforcement.--

thorazine
September 7, 2009, 07:35 PM
Larry Chase of Tampa obtained his permit several years ago, so his name appears on the last list available to the public. Chase thought he might get into security work but never did, and never bought a gun because he has children at home.

He's not sure why so many people are seeking permits now, but he suspects a conspiracy by those in the gun business.

Damn!

He knows about the great big conspiracy!!



At least he can protect his family with that trusty baseball bat or golf club.

brboyer
September 8, 2009, 05:33 PM
In order to be protected from employer action, you have to have a Concealed Weapon License to keep your gun locked up in your car at work.

Having a license also removes some of the restrictions on how a gun must be carried in a car.

Sir, I suggest you read Florida Statute 790.251. Protection of the right to keep and bear arms in motor vehicles for self-defense and other lawful purposes; prohibited acts; duty of public and private employers; immunity from liability; enforcement.--

Chuck, In the first quote, he is correct and in the second he is refering to the ability to carry it on your person only being allowed if the individual has a CWFL.

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