By: José Niño
Like many other states right now, Florida is witnessing a growing demand for firearms and concealed carry permits.
According to the Department of Agriculture, the government body that issues permits in the Sunshine State, the demand for concealed carry applications is breaking records.
Taylor Ashley Beard of The Famuan observed that the increase in demand is creating a massive backlog in applications that date back from several months ago. The Florida Department of Agriculture reports that the number of appointments has doubled, and applicants must wait roughly 60 days, which is nearly triple the average wait-time.
Of course, none of this would be a problem if Florida enacted Constitutional Carry and relieved citizens of having to ask the government for permission to carry a gun.
In Florida, regular gun ownership does not require a license. By contrast, a license is needed to legally carry a concealed firearm. Under Florida law, a resident must be 18 years old or older, not be a convicted felon, and fulfill citizenship requirements to possess a firearm. Although there is overlap in terms of regular gun ownership and concealed carry requirements, the latter requires an individual be at least 21 and go through mandatory firearms training.
So far in 2020, 17 million background checks have been processed, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation. NSSF reported that roughly 6.9 million people were first-time gun buyers.
This surge in gun sales has been spurred by the series of riots that kicked off following the death of George Floyd last summer and the overall hysteria surrounding the Wuhan virus lockdowns. Millions of Americans watched in horror as cities burned down while law enforcement was instructed to stand down by demagogic elected officials. To add insult to injury, authorities selectively enforced all pandemic-related lockdowns, social distancing measures, and mask mandates while the law was AWOL against real criminals.
More importantly, Americans likely recognized that former Vice President Joe Biden is a long-time gun grabber and played it safe by stocking up on firearms. Biden has a track record of sponsoring gun control legislation, such as the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990 and the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban.
Biden is making a national buy-back program of so-called “assault weapons” a major part of his presidential platform. Under Biden’s plan, gun owners would be pressured to sell their “assault weapons” or “high-capacity" magazines to the government or register them in accordance to the National Firearms Act.
Florida has been an interesting battleground for gun policy. The 2018 Parkland Massacre dramatically changed the state’s gun policies. Seen as one of the leading states for gun owners, Florida’s pro-gun image took a hit after the Republican-controlled state government folded to anti-gun pressure following this shooting. Florida Gov. Rick Scott ended up signing SB 7026, which established a red flag law, raised the minimum age to purchase a firearm to 21, and established a three-day waiting period for all firearms purchases.
Gun policy has reversed, however, ever since Scott decided to run for the U.S. Senate and was succeeded by Ron DeSantis. Under DeSantis’ watch, not only has gun control been ignored, but Florida got back in the win column by passing a teacher carry law in 2019. The passage of SB 7026 was surely a setback, but there’s still a strong demand for pro-gun reforms in Florida. Republicans put up very strong performances in the 2020 election cycle, which bodes well for legislative efforts to change Florida’s gun control laws.
But nothing is a given in politics. Second Amendment supporters must be ready to put the pressure on their representatives and remind them that the gun issue will never go away. Relentless activism is key to restoring Second Amendment rights across the nation.
José Niño is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.