A trio of sheriffs in the Sunshine State are speaking out publicly amidst rising violent crime in many cities across the country, and their message is simple: exercise your Second Amendment rights.
A couple of weeks ago Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivy got the ball rolling with a Facebook video encouraging residents to obtain their concealed carry license, telling them, “No matter your position on guns.. the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun or knife is an armed and well prepared citizen or law enforcement officer.”
This week, that call to arms has been echoed by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, who spoke to the Fox affiliate in Orlando about his support for the right to carry.
“There’s not enough police in America to stop all of the threats,” said Chitwood.
Chitwood adds that in his experience licensed gun owners tend to be some of the most law abiding citizens he encounters, and that just one citizen prepared for a bad situation could make all the difference.
Floridians seem to be following the sheriffs’ advice. Already the state is home to more than 2-million licensed concealed carry holders, and the state has added tens of thousands more in recent months. Gun sales too are soaring, with more than 100,000 background checks performed since over the past month.
In the week after George Floyd’s death, Florida processed more than twice the number of background checks than it did in the same week in 2019. The number of Floridians who sought voluntary background checks so they could buy guns surged in the days and weeks after protests started following the death of George Floyd on May 25. Since June 1, Florida has processed 30,657 background checks. The peak was reached the following day on June 2, when the state processed 10,318 background checks in one day.
From May 26 to June 14, the state processed 117,669 background checks. After the June 2 peak, background checks processed daily dropped to 2,620 by June 14, but were still almost twice the number processed the Sunday before Floyd’s death.
So far, Florida cities like Miami and Orlando seem to have avoided the dramatic spike in violent crime taking place in cities like New York and Philadelphia, where shootings have soared in recent weeks. That may be because the riots and unrest that have been regular features over the past month in those places haven’t been as widespread in Florida, allowing law enforcement to continue their focus in high-crime neighborhoods. It may also have something to do with the fact that there are so many armed citizens ready and willing to defend their life against life-threatening acts of violence.
The sheriffs’ advice is right on target, and I suspect that now that online applications for concealed carry licenses are once again being processed after being suspended for several months, the number of Floridians obtaining their carry license will be at record highs in the weeks to come.