July 26, 2012 -
It looks as though Florida will soon become the first state in the nation with more than one million concealed weapons permits.
The shooting spree in Colorado has prompted calls for more gun control and that raises the question: is it too easy to get a gun permit in Florida?
Currently about 950,000 Floridians have active concealed weapons permits. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who operates the gun permit program, says his office is issuing between 10,000 and 15,000 permits every month.
At that rate, Florida would pass the million permit mark before the end of the year. Putnam says Florida has seen increasing demand for gun permits in recent years. So he has hired more workers to handle the extra workload and expanded the state's Fast Track system. It allows gun owners to renew their weapons permits faster.
Putnam says the eight Fast Track offices across Florida are proving "wildly popular" with gun owners.
He does not think it's too easy to get a gun permit in Florida.
"Florida has a strong tradition in upholding Second Amendment rights. The Florida Legislature has been very clear about that. The track record of administering the program in our office and when it was in the Department of State has been one that is thorough and efficient."
Putnam says Florida's concealed weapons permit holders are overwhelmingly law-abiding citizens.
About 6,200 gun permits have been revoked out of 2.2 million issued since 1987. Records show 168 permits were revoked for gun-related crimes.
Permit holders can lose their gun licenses if convicted of a felony.