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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Steve Bousquet column: Gun permits in Florida a growth industry

17

April

George Zimmerman is part of a large and growing class in Florida: He holds a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Or he did until last week, when he was charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford.

A gun permit in Florida is suspended when the holder is charged with a felony. If Zimmerman is acquitted, he'll get his gun permit back.

Through March, 919,831 people held permits to carry a concealed weapon in Florida, or roughly one of every 15 adults in the state. (More than 106,000 permit holders live in other states.)

Four out of five are men. Most are over age 50.

Miami-Dade, the state's biggest county, has the most permit holders, more than 82,000. Broward is second with 72,000.

Hillsborough has the fourth-highest with nearly 46,000; Pinellas ranks No. 7 with more than 36,000.

Requests for permits have escalated in recent years. At the current pace, the number of permit holders will surpass 1 million in the next few months.

Full column here.

[Last modified: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 10:00am]

    

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