March 31, 2023

OPINION: Gun sales have been down in Florida; permitless carry may change that

OPINION: Gun sales have been down in Florida; permitless carry may change that

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It appears that all the fighting against Permitless Carry may be in vain, akin to sweeping back the ocean with a broom.

We can all theorize what may come from the possibility, if not probability of many, many people, perhaps first-time gun owners, walking around fully armed, but how do we know for sure?

The fact is we don’t.

Surely, there must be something we can gauge to form an opinion.

Florida gun store sales dropped 14% in 2021 when compared to 2020.

In fact, Floridians bought fewer guns per capita than 33 other states.

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Yes, I know, it is the raw numbers that count, but for the sake of the theory, this is information worth knowing.

Again, looking into the first half of 2022 and using the FBI background check data as a guidepost, close to 750,000 guns ( at gun stores) were sold in Florida.

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That equates to a little over 3,500 guns for every 100,000 people.

And that is the 16th fewest in the nation, according to Samuel Stebbins’ July 2022 article, “Florida Ranks Surprisingly Low Nationally in Gun Stores, Sales per Capita,” in The Capitalist. 

People buy a lot of guns in Florida, but per capita, however, Florida is nowhere near the top.

Furthermore, there have been fairly steady declines since 2020.

This is not a commentary on gun sales.

If someone wants to legally purchase a firearm, they should be able to do so.

But the numbers bear out that those who wish to do just that are less than a few years back.

With the advent of “Permitless Carry,” which appears to be just around the bend here in Florida, I draw closer to my hypothesis, keeping in mind again, that gun sales have been declining in Florida.

If gun sales increase over the years past, there could be but one explanation: people are now looking to buy guns because they can walk around with them concealed with no permits.

I would also theorize that these would be first time gun owners.

If a person is purchasing a firearm only because they can now carry it on them concealed without needing a permit, what measures are in place to ensure safety for the community?

I get it.  It does not matter what the reason they are carrying is.

We are all given that “Lord given right to bear arms,” ok, ok.

I just wonder what can go wrong with many new first time gun owners, untrained and safety unconscious, walking around the streets of Florida with a gun under their shirt or attached to their ankle.

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I mean, what could go wrong?

A whole hell of a lot, that’s what.

David Magnusson is a retired police chief with 36 ½ years of law enforcement experience having spent 30 of these years with the Miami Police Department retiring as an assistant chief. He was chief of the Havelock Police Department in the Marine Corps City of Havelock, North Carolina, home to Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. He returned to South Florida as chief of the El Portal Police Department.

He chaired the COVID and Domestic Violent Extremism Committees for the Association of Miami Dade County Chiefs of police. He teaches about Hate Crimes, Violent Extremism, and Inclusive Policing to law enforcement agencies.

A historian, Magnusson has written on military and presidential history topics. He is a diehard baseball (St. Louis Cardinals) and boxing fan. Magnusson resides in South Florida with his wife. Their children and grandchildren are never too far away.

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