Three Florida sheriffs made it official last week, announcing that in the world we live in today, citizens would be well advised to arm themselves and be prepared to personally defend themselves, their families and their homes as violent crime increases and police are increasingly unable to provide the protection people expect.
Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivy got the ball rolling, urging citizens to prepare to defend themselves, saying “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.” He was quickly joined by two other Florida Sheriffs, echoing comments by the chief of police in Detroit several years ago who urged law abiding citizens to arm themselves to take their city back from the criminals then running roughshod in many neighborhoods.
The pandemic and the recent refusal of police in many cities around the country to respond to calls for help from citizens along with a sharp increase in violent crime has convinced many previously skeptical of firearms rights to buy firearms and seek training in how to use them just in case. Reports from gun stores around the country suggest that many of those new to gun ownership are men and women who had previously supported measures to reduce firearms ownership, but now believe they need to be in a position to defend themselves and their families.
According to government figures, more than six and a half million firearms background checks were conducted during the first four months of this year, a 48% increase over 2019 and that number does not include an additional spike in sales that has followed the riots and calls for the “defunding” of police in many cities. The National Shooting Sports Foundation surveyed firearms retailers and estimated that fully forty percent of those who bought firearms during this period were first time gun buyers and that most bought them for self-protection.
The new trend is nowhere more apparent than in Illinois as homicides and armed assault are on the increase and Chicago police and other law enforcement agencies around the state are under fire and unable to provide the protection they have sworn to provide. According to news reports, there has been a 500% increase in applications for carry permits in Illinois with nearly 40,000 new requests filed in June alone.