Four of every 100 adult Floridians now have a permit to carry a concealed gun, and 95,000 are awaiting action on their application for one. But while the number of concealed weapons permit holders has jumped 56 percent in four years, no one knows their names. In 2006, the Florida Legislature exempted the concealed weapons permit database from public view. Permit holders may like that no one knows they may be carrying a gun. What about the other 18 million Floridians? The right to carry a concealed weapon should not trample the right to know who has a permit to carry one. Those carrying guns might feel safer, but what about everyone else who cannot know if their neighbor or co-worker is carrying one? Lawmakers should remove the exemption from the public records law and make the names of permit holders' public again.
A Times Editorial
Four of every 100 Floridians can carry a concealed weapon — but who are they?
Concealed weapons permits in Florida
347,350 in 2005
540,991 in 2009
95,000 applications waiting to be processed