With President Obama's blueprint to rein in gun violence now up for a great public and political debate, one thing's for sure in the Sunshine state: More and more Floridians enjoy the personal security that a concealed weapons permit provides.
While a majority of Americans support sensible restrictions on gun ownership -- such as closing the loophole on background checks prior to a purchase -- concealed weapons permits are not part of the debate. Nor should they be.
More than a million Floridians can now walk around packing a pistol beneath a jacket or inside a purse, and the number is rising quickly. In Manatee County, the state has issued 14,256 concealed-carry permits -- about 4.3 percent of the population here, the Herald's Elizabeth Johnson reported this week.
Think about that. Say there are 100 people at the big-box discount store. Odds are good that four of those shoppers are packing heat.
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Comfortable with that thought?
How about this one? If bad guys draw their weapons, hopefully these four people will be able to prevent disaster. At least that's the NRA's line of thinking. And it's proven true in several recent incidents across the nation.
Unlike Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground law, the concealed-carry statute has not drawn a heated debate. Nor should it, as we've stated.