Florida will be the first state to have issued 1 million permits allowing people to carry concealed firearms, said Adam Putnam, Florida’s commissioner of agriculture and consumer affairs.
Florida had issued 993,200 active permits as of Nov. 30, according to state data. Of those, 875,600 were for state residents, accounting for 4.6 percent of its 19.1 million population. The state will pass the 1 million mark next week, Putnam said at a news conference today in Tallahassee.
“Floridians have a great respect and appreciation for their Second Amendment rights,” Putnam said.
Florida was among the first states in 1987 to require approval of concealed-carry licenses for any applicant who meets certain criteria, instead of giving local police discretion over those decisions. Today, 38 states have “shall issue” laws similar to Florida’s, according to the National Rifle Association, a firearms-rights group based in Fairfax, Virginia.
Florida, the fourth-most-populous state, had 887,000 active permits as of Dec. 31, 2011, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Pennsylvania had the second-most with 786,000.
In Florida, permits are issued to anyone who, among other things, is at least 21 years old and has never been convicted of a felony crime.
The number of concealed permits in Florida has nearly doubled since 2008. Putnam said he didn’t know what accounted for the increase in permits.