JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- If you feel like you've been hearing about a lot of shootings lately, you're right. In the past three weeks, there have been seven shootings in Jacksonville, six of them deadly.
This comes at a time when gun sales are at an all-time high. Here in Florida, we'll soon have one million people with valid permits to carry a concealed weapon. That's more than any other state.
And nationwide, the FBI reports the number of background checks for perspective gun owners has nearly doubled.
In light of all the recent violence locally, we wanted to know, are there too many guns on the street? And who better to ask, than the people affected by the gun violence?
Action News talked to the people who live in New Town, near Tyler and Windle Streets. That's the scene of the latest local shooting. Police tell us five men were hit in a drive-by Wednesday afternoon. Neighbors tell us those men will be okay.
And when you ask them what they think about guns, you'll get a split opinion. Ronald Taylor, President of the New Town Neighborhood Association said, "We have to have guns. We are a nation raised off of guns."
His neighbor, William Herndon, disagreed. He said, "There's just too many guns as a whole, you know?"
"Guns ain't got nothing to do with nothing, because they're just an inanimate object," said neighbor Jiminette Holloway. "Until someone picks it up and decides to use it in wrong way."
Her friend, Lawanda Peterson agreed. "People use them for the wrong reasons. They're not just to protect theyself and their family, you know."
State officials say Florida is expected to issue its one millionth concealed weapons permit next week. That's more than any other state in the nation.
Taylor said, "We can't give up our guns, but we do need to educate people on the use of guns, and about love for each other."
Action News also spoke with Sheriff John Rutherford, who told us permitted gun owners aren't the problem. He says more often than not, the guns used in street crimes are stolen from vehicles, and the shooter doesn't have a concealed weapons permit.
To help get illegal guns, and the people who use them, off the street, the Sheriff is reinstating his Gun Bounty Program. That's a $1000 reward for information gets the gun off the street, and it's user behind bars. That's in addition to the reward offered by Crime Stoppers.
He says that reward money is not taxpayer money. It's confiscated drug money, and funds raised by the Chamber of Commerce.
The gunman in the Tyler Street shooting is still on the run. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.