More Locals Carry Concealed

By: Sandra Osborne Email
By: Sandra Osborne Email

The number of people seeking concealed weapons permits in Florida has skyrocketed over the last few years.

In fact, Florida now has more concealed weapons permit holders than any other state in the nation, more than one million.

Concealed weapons class instructor and gun shop manager Billy Lake says his store has seen a surge in people looking to carry.

"We were doing maybe one or two classes per month. Now, for the month of February, we have eight classes booked full and people begging for more classes," said Lake.

By the end of 2012, Florida reached one million concealed permit holders, but Lake says the biggest increase has been in recent weeks.

"In just the last two months it's gone up a huge amount. People are scared. They're scared that the administration is going to try to take their firearms away," said Lake.

The manager also says Florida is a popular place to get licensed because of things like how many states recognize it.

"Our permit is recognized by 35 states across the country. We don't have a lot of the requirements that some states have. We don't have re-certification requirements."

Lake says in Florida, you only have to renew every seven years.

"There's a lot more to it than just owning a gun. It's learning how to use it properly, understanding certain circumstances that you could potentially be in and whether or not it's conducive to pull a firearm," said a local gun owner shopping in Jay's Guns.

"You may buy it for home defense and never have to use it, but at least you have it if you need it," said Lake.

Store employees say he's also noticed a shift in the clientele at his store, with men making up about 60 to 70 percent of his students.

Now, he says, most of the students are women, interested in protecting themselves.


8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647 FCC Form 398
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