Florida nears 1 million concealed weapons permits - FOX 35 News Orlando

Florida nears 1 million concealed weapons permits

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Florida is creeping up on its one millionth concealed weapons permit holder. Thursday morning, the state led the nation in the number of concealed permit holders, at 997,000 and counting.

John O'Brien has had his for the last 12 years.

"Wanted to make sure I could exercise my right to as a 2nd Amendment gun owner," he said.

O'Brien sees the numbers as a good thing.

"I don't think it is the gun that creates the crime, it's the person that creates the crime," O'Brien said.

"I think it is great, we're doing a tremendous amount of classes we run them Wednesdays and Saturdays," said Bruce Kitzis.

Kitzis manages the brand new Shooter's World on E. Fletcher, turning an old furniture warehouse into a shooter's emporium. He says groups of 30 to 50 people regularly sign up for each concealed weapons class, and believe it or not, he says women are the fastest growing group.

"Women are in here buying guns shooting. Some of the best shooters that come in here are women," Kitzis said.

Getting a CWP costs $50 to $75 bucks for a three-hour class and then another $117 dollars for the permit itself. You do have to pass a background check to qualify.

"It just shows people are not allowing themselves to be victimized," Kitzis said.

Still, gun-opponents say the state reaching the one million milestone is no reason to celebrate.

"Florida has one of the most lax concealed-carry laws in the country. This is the same state that allowed George Zimmerman to carry a loaded gun in public even though he had an arrest record and a history of violence," said Brian Malte, with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Here in Florida, just about one in every 19 people has a concealed weapons permit. They are valid for seven years.

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