PORT CHARLOTTE Fla.- Jim Silberman has a permit to carry a concealed weapon and he uses it. "Used to be I counted on my physical abilities, now I count on a gun to stop the problem or solve the problem", said Silberman. But getting a license isn't so easy these days.
In 2000 over 28,000 people applied for permits in Florida. By 2010 the number of applications jumped to more than 167.000. At the end of the last fiscal year, there were over 850,000 people licensed to carry a concealed weapon in Florida. The Department of Agriculture issues Concealed Carry Permits in Florida. Assistant Director Ken Wilkinson says that applications are at an all time high. "Over the past 5 years we have seen that growth reach almost a crescendo", said Wilkinson. Residents both in florida and out of state can apply at regional offices like the one in Punta Gorda to streamline the process, but even those offices have a backlog. "We cant necessarliy account for it, we don't ask applicants on the applications why they are applying for a concealed weapons license," saik Wilkinson.
We found Janine Martinelli taking her firearms safety training at the Cecil Webb shooting range. "Well I feel that I need a gun only because of the way the times are going", said Martinelli. She has to wait to get in to fill out her application for a concealed carry permit.
"Well I called them up today and I cant get an appointment til august 18th", said MartinelliEven though Florida requires a safety course for concealed weapons, experts like Billy Carl say that courses vary in their training and you should do your homework before signing up. "Too many times people think that just owning the gun is the solution and its going to provide them self defence where its not. Proper training is the important part", said Carl. But even with the right training, you could end up waiting up to three months to get a license.