Florida state officials announced they expect the number of active concealed carry permits to reach a million sometime next week. Florida has had “shall-issue” carry for 25 years, and has issued more than 2 million licenses in that time. State officials pointed out that over the quarter-century of concealed carry, only about .3% of licenses have been revoked.
Concealed carriers in Florida can thank one individual for driving the law through: famously hard-nosed former NRA President Marion Hammer. I worked at NRA in the 1980s, and I can tell you that enthusiasm for concealed carry inside 1600 Rhode Island Ave. was tepid at best. Hammer, who hid a drill sergeant’s personality under a pageboy hairdo, was the one who put the stiffness in the organization’s spine on the carry issue, which has been one of its biggest successes.
Hammer also rammed through the Eddie Eagle program, which has been another notable NRA achievement. I’ve always thought the name was lame, but the program works.
The beauty of the concealed carry campaign has been that gun owners, who were for years on the defensive, have been playing on the enemy’s end of the field for more than 20 years now. Now that it appears Illinois will have to adopt a carry law, the victory is nearly complete.