Thursday, March 25, 2010

Utah, Florida help non-residents pack guns

Last September I wrote about the growing power of the NRA -

Let's face it, no one will take the high road to gun control – and was attacked by a lot of gun nuts who claimed Obama was going to take their guns away.  What has actually happened is that the NRA lobby has expanded gun rights to the point that nearly anyone in this country can get a concealed weapon permit – even if they don’t live in the two states that have legalized it!

Why two states’ permits are such hot tickets for concealed-carry crowd

“Gun-rights activists say Americans who pack heat to defend themselves are exercising a legitimate right and have helped reduce the nation’s crime rate. Gun-control advocates say that there’s no proof that gun-toting civilians make the streets any safer and that looser concealed-carry laws are a recipe for disaster.”

The result of the NRAs lobbying:

“As the debate continues, the Utah and Florida permits are becoming ever-hotter tickets for out-of-state gun owners.”

Web Sites tout the need to buy guns for concealment:

“Protect your family when traveling!” shouts a headline on one of dozens of Web sites that offer training and help with the paperwork to obtain the Utah and Florida permits. “You don’t have to be a resident of Utah or Florida!”

Victories for the NRA:

The non-resident permits are roundly criticized by gun-control advocates, who see the states that issue them as tools of groups like the National Rifle Association.

“I think the reason states are doing this, especially Florida, is the sheer power of the gun lobby in those state legislatures,” said Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, which seeks a ban on private ownership of all handguns. “It’s not a question of what is in a state’s interest, but what is in the gun lobby and gun industry’s interest.”

Concealed-Weapons permits increased, not decreased under Obama’s Administration.

“The popularity of non-resident licenses with gun owners from heavily populated states like California and New York, which do not have “shall-issue” systems, has helped fuel big increases in both Utah and Florida’s concealed-carry permit numbers. That in turn has contributed to the nation’s fivefold increase in concealed-weapons permits, from fewer than 1 million in the 1980s to an estimated 6 million today.”

Second thoughts:

“But the permit’s surge in popularity with out-of-state gun owners has given pause to Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who last September expressed fears that his state could become known as a “wholesale clearinghouse” for concealed-carry licenses.”

The Florida Loophole:

The “Florida loophole,” touted at Pennsylvania gun shows by firearms trainers, exists because Florida has a lower bar for denying and revoking permits than Pennsylvania. Florida does not check to see if non-resident applicants have been denied permits by their home states, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture, which issues the concealed-carry permits.”

Click for related content:

22 minutes for a concealed-weapon permit
Should there be a mandate for training?
Video: Handguns 101
Record number of Americans licensed to pack heat

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