Anxiety drives increased Florida gun purchases


January 24, 2003, 05:27 PM
Anxiety drives increased Florida gun purchases

Staff Writer
Last updated: Jan 22, 08:12 PM

Bob Wood owns guns, shoots twice a month and is teaching his 5-year-old grandson to fire.
But he worries about other gun owners taking up arms as the dust settles from a tragic event.

One month after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, about 40,000 people asked the Florida Department of State for an application for a concealed weapons permit, roughly 20 times the norm. And local gun-shop owners say interest spiked last fall surrounding the type of rifle used in the Washington, D.C.-area sniper attacks.

Wood, 62, of Daytona Beach, wonders who's teaching rookies how to handle and fire a gun safely.

"Incidents like the sniper attacks have caused people to look at self-defense, but that's a dangerous process," Wood said between firing rounds Wednesday at the Strickland Shooting Range off Clyde Morris Boulevard near Daytona Beach. "You don't point a weapon at anybody else unless you're prepared to kill, and I don't think people are prepared to do that."

Gun ownership is still alive and strong in this country. Concealed weapons permits have routinely risen in Florida, while total applications for firearm transfers or permits increased 3 percent from 7.7 million in 2000 to 8 million in 2001, according to the FBI's most recent national statistics.

In addition, the National Rifle Association has a record-high number of members at 4 million, thanks in part to a president who looks more favorably at owning firearms.

"We have an administration that believes in protecting the Second Amendment and the laws of law-abiding gun owners," said NRA spokeswoman Kelly Whitley.

But some gun owners fear the general public is too easily motivated to take up a potentially dangerous pursuit.

After Sept. 11, workers at the Department of State's division of licensing were baffled as tens of thousands of people asked about getting a special permit to carry a concealed handgun.

"It provided people a sense of security even though (a permit) couldn't protect them from such a catastrophic event," said Ken Wilkinson, the division's operations and management consultant.

FBI statistics show the number of background checks for gun sales rose nearly 11 percent higher in September 2001 compared to the same month in 2000. In October, the figure jumped again to nearly 22 percent more than the year before.

And in a survey conducted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation about 10 days after the terror attacks, about 15 percent of gun retailers reported sales increases of more than 25 percent. The majority of the sales were in New York, Washington and Florida, where some of the terrorists lived.

The climate in the Washington, D.C., area was no different during the sniper attacks. A New York Post report had officials reporting up to a 500 percent increase in applications for concealed-weapons permits, and gun sales were up nearly as much.

More than 800 miles away, inside a DeLand gun shop, people began asking about AR-15-type rifles, like the Bushmaster used in the sniper attacks.

"Maybe it was a little morbid interest, just wondering what it took to do this," said Wade Love, co-owner of Love's Gun and Pawn.

At Buck's Gun Rack in Daytona Beach, sales of the AR-15 were up 15 percent around the time of the attacks. Shop owner Forrest Buckwald recalled a similar fascination in 1971 surrounding Clint Eastwood's sidearm. Following the release of "Dirty Harry," people were interested in the .44 Magnum.

"You're buying a little bit of the romance, being a bit of an armchair adventurer when you fire one of these," he said, surrounded by AR-15 rifles in his shop one recent morning. "But 99.9 percent of people enjoy it as an interesting piece of machinery."

Still, Bill McCarthy worries about gun owners who are ignorant about the weapon they just bought.

After Sept. 11, the Strickland Shooting Range where McCarthy works was a zoo. Experienced marksmen preparing for hunting season were mixed with unseasoned, unskilled gun owners, not completely sure how to use their shiny new weapon.

"I didn't have time to help the new shooters," McCarthy said.

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January 24, 2003, 05:31 PM
Just about every shooter I know is happy to help out a newbie, unless they're being an obnoxious punk.

We know how important safety is.
We know how much fun it is.
We know that the more of us there are, the more secure RKBA is.

January 24, 2003, 05:45 PM
"It provided people a sense of security even though (a permit) couldn't protect them from such a catastrophic event," said Ken Wilkinson, the division's operations and management consultant.

True, but it can protect against the low-lifes who will try to take advantage of social unrest.

January 24, 2003, 06:00 PM
Granted, if they light up a pony nuke, and you're a 1/2 mile away, you're vapor.

OTOH, if you stumble across them setting up (assuming you recognized the activity...big if) a sidearm can make all the difference.

A gun won't protect you from the results of catastrophe, but it can make a difference in certain precursor times and places.

A pistol wouldn't have saved anyone from Malvo, but what about the guy walking his dog, who stumbles over him in his lair?

A pistol wouldn't have saved the poor folks in the towers, but in Todd Beamer's hands, it might have. (OK, wrong plane, I know...but you get the idea)

After all, the big (and not frequently discussed) lesson of 9/11 is that normal Americans CAN MOST DEFINATELY take care of business, if need be, and deferring your responsibility to big brother can get you, and a lot of other people killed. The common wisdom of the time, (you are powerless to change the course of events, depend on your government take care of it) was the exploited weakness, and in one case, shown for the lie it is.

I thank god regularly for the heroes of flight 93. They maintained our honor, and reminded us that even in the extreme, we are never helpless.

January 24, 2003, 06:26 PM
Yeah, remember several months ago in Israel. Lady going down the isle in grocery store saw terrorist trying to rig his bomb. Pulls her 9mm, 2 quick to the head-problem solved.

It is time individuals took charge of their own safety.

Don't call 911, call 1911.

El Tejon
January 24, 2003, 06:34 PM
What rubbish, Mr. Wilkinson!

I know one permit holder, a tall, lanky office geek who will gladly show your uneducated self how just one trained armed good guy would have made short work of the AQT teams aboard any of the flights on 9/11. And if he could bring a buddy of his choosing, half the time.

January 24, 2003, 06:37 PM

Do you have a link for that? Might make a good piece of information at the right time.

January 24, 2003, 06:43 PM
Sorry-no link. It was reported on the national TV news media outlets and, although I did not see it, I'm sure it was in the national print media. Seems as if it may have been a story by the Reuters (sp?) news agency-memory fade!

El Tejon
January 24, 2003, 06:48 PM
critter, is this the story where the media kept calling her a "security force member" or something?:rolleyes:

January 24, 2003, 06:56 PM
I remember that story about the Israeli lady in the supermarket, and she was a civilian with a CC permit.

You could probably do a search for "Israeli supermarket bomb" on freerepublic and find the story.

January 24, 2003, 09:01 PM
Boo hoo. It's a free country. Get over it.

January 24, 2003, 09:43 PM
Other 'potentially dangerous pursuits' that folks could have their undies in a wad over include....
driving, flying, horseback riding, various contact sports, frisbee, whack a mole, roller coasters, petting strange dogs, voting Democrat, dancing, drugging, watching TV, not watching TV,
surfing the Internet, surfing, fishing,
archery, scuba diving, messing with Betty or Tamara, prayer, reading, starting a string collection, chewing gum, eating hard candy, sitting, standing, walking, running, laying down,
using public transportation, using sharp objects, using blunt objects, using power tools, using manual tools, building a fire, taking a shower, herding cattle, eating at McDonalds,
having children, playing chess, coloring, listening to the radio, mooning a werewolf, becoming a mime,...
I tell you, it's a paranoid's paradise out there.:what:

January 24, 2003, 10:34 PM
Hey, I shoot at that range! Strickland's gunrange is a great place, I read posts about how horrible some public ranges are and I am glad to have Strickland's the people are nice and the place is kept clean, and if it isn't clean the shooters myself included will clean it up. The range staff is also cool, they will let you shoot at anything you want as long as it doesn't present a safety hazard and you clean up after yourself.

A for the newspaper article, well the News-Journal has a certain reputation for poor journalism. There is a saying we have here at the world's most famous beach: "Nothing bad ever happens in Daytona". This stems from the fact that the news-journal doesn't report things that would negatively effect tourism. So you can take it from them that we don't have riots at every Black College Reunion, the outlaw bikers don't show up for Bike Week anymore, and ABSOLUTELY nothing bad happens during Speedweeks. (If emoticons didn't make me nauseous I would put one of those headbanging thingies right here)

So the moral of this post is: come to Daytona and go shooting with me, and please ignore the fact that it snowed today, you are still welcome to swim in the ocean, I'll watch from shore and call the lifeguards to come haul you out after you turn blue.


Standing Wolf
January 24, 2003, 10:44 PM
"I didn't have time to help the new shooters," McCarthy said.

Doesn't sound like any shooter I've ever met!

January 24, 2003, 11:30 PM
Bob Wood and Bill McCarthy. with gunowners like these two guys who needs anti's? Just another bunch of know-it-alls that think it is all right for them to own a firearm but question if anyone else should. This type of gun owner hurts our cause more than any high profile genuine anti ever could. ----------Chainsaw

January 25, 2003, 12:15 AM
MY hope is that he ment there were TOO many at one time to give each one the individual help they need to be safe.

January 25, 2003, 12:23 AM
Other then antis like Sarah Brady, nothing pisses me off more then self-righteous gun owners who think they are fine to own and carry guns but don't think new people can handle firearms ... same kind of jerks as hunters who think the 2nd amendment is only to protect their right to kill bambi but think "there's no reason an honest man needs a gun that holds more then 10 rounds" (thats why I'll never own a Ruger).


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