Florida issued 173,000 new concealed-carry permits in 2012. This is an increase of 17 percent over the year before. Ohio is on the way to doubling last year’s total of 65,000 new permits. This number is nearly three times more permits than were issued in 2007.
The numbers of permits in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wyoming and Nebraska are rising dramatically.
What is going on? Partly, it is the national debate over gun control laws. The tragic events in Newtown, CT, Aurora, CO and elsewhere created two opposite views.
One view says we must keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and people with criminal records. Registering guns is the solution. The other view says the more people have guns, the more likely mass shooters can be stopped. More armed citizens are the solution.
In 2008 and 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Second Amendment to the Constitution grants the right to keep and bear arms in the home. But the court left unclear whether the right to have a weapon extends outside the home. The states are largely free to set up their own rules.
Connecticut, Colorado, California, New York, Delaware and Maryland have tightened their gun laws. At least 20 states have loosened laws on concealed-carry. Residents of Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming and Vermont do not need permits to carry a concealed weapon.
Will more guns reduce crime? The president of the Chiefs of Police said that, during his 21 years as police chief, he could remember only “one instance in which someone effectively defended himself” with a firearm. Otherwise, “it’s a whole lot of cases of guns being used not in ways they’re designed: kids shooting themselves, gun-cleaning accidents, crimes of passion, that sort of thing.”