More than 2.61 million people had Florida concealed weapons licenses as of Nov. 30, according to the News Service of Florida. Of the state’s 67 counties, Lake and Marion are in the Top 15 for the number of license holders.

The state has issued 63,639 permits in Lake County and 55,855 in Marion. Miami-Dade is tops with 202,894, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

To put it in perspective, Lake County’s population in 2021 was 395,804, according to Marion County’s was 385,915.

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The Lake County picture

Lake County Property Appraiser Carey Baker believes he knows why his county has so many permit holders.

“We’re still a rural-ish county,” he said.

Before devastating freezes in the early 1980s, Lake was the king of citrus groves, box plants, packing houses and juice factories. South Lake is now a bedroom community for Orlando, while the rest of the county is growing rapidly. Both Lake and Marion have chunks of the thriving Villages retirement community, but there are still some vast undeveloped tracts.


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