TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Florida leads the nation in the number of people authorized to carry a concealed weapon, Gov. Rick Scott says.
Scott tossed out that statistic during a recent interview on Fox News.
"We believe in an individual law-abiding citizen's right to bear arms," Scott said. "We have to continue to have this right. We are not going to be taking weapons away from law-abiding citizens of Florida.
"I mean, I think we have more concealed weapons permits than any other state because Floridians care about their right to bear arms."
The Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times reported Monday its check of the governor's facts confirms Florida, with 19 million residents, has issued more conceal-carry permits than even Texas, which is known for its gun-rights advocacy and has 25 million people, and California, which has more than 37 million residents.
It turns out, the Times said, figures from the U.S. Government Accountability Office show Florida is No. 1 with 887,000 concealed weapons permits as of Dec. 31, followed by Pennsylvania ( 786,000), Georgia (600,000), Texas (519,000), Indiana (406,000), Washington (351,000), Utah (347,000), Tennessee (3431,000), Michigan (296,000) and Virginia (279,000).
The newspaper notes Florida's number may be skewed somewhat because it allows out-of-state residents to acquire gun permits and also points out many states have reciprocity agreements. The Times also points out California, which has just 35,000 permits, and New York have more restrictive laws and another large state, Illinois, doesn't issue concealed weapons permits.