Attorney General announces Second Quarter 2013 CHL statistics; Demand for CHLs stays in stratosphere

by Jim Irvine

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the second quarter of 2013. After a record setting period like the first quarter, a return to "normal" is expected, but that is not what happened. The second quarter surpassed the record numbers established in the first quarter and proves that was not just a one quarter fluke. Every record set last quarter was broken again. No matter how you measure it, despite what President Obama, Bloomberg and media "surveys" say, Americans don't want more gun control, they want more guns, and the ability to carry them in more places.

Demand for CHLs stayed in the stratosphere in the April through June reporting period. Demand was up a whopping 76% over the same period last year, setting a new record for the most initial licenses issued in a quarter. A new record for most renewals in a quarter was also set. Ohio sheriffs issued 32,074 regular CHLs, 15,958 renewals, and 19 Temporary emergency Licenses (TELs), for a staggering 48,051 total licenses issued (another record) during the quarter. Demand was so high that it exceeded the entire yearly totals for 2005, 2006 and 2007 combined.

2012 was a record setting year, with 76,810 CHLs and renewals issued by Ohio sheriffs. We are just shy of that record in only the first six months of 2013. If demand suddenly fell to zero for the rest of the year, we have probably already established a new record for most amount of licenses issued in a year. That is an amazing increase in demand.

It is always difficult to assign specific reasons for behavior, but there is no denying that we have seen strong demand for CHLs since Governor John Kasich signed SB 17 (Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix) and HB 54 (Restoration of Rights) legislation into law. Last December Kasich signed HB 495 (Concealed Carry Modernization), legislation which made the program function even better. As we have seen many times in Ohio, when the law is improved, the demand for training and licenses increases.

Since the Sandy Hook killings, President Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with leaders of the Democrat Party in Washington, have ramped up their extremist anti-gun rights rhetoric. They were successful in forcing votes on several anti-gun bills/amendments in the U.S. Senate. They seemed convinced that they would succeed, and it's probably safe to assume that many citizens feared they would enact gun control measures. That fear helps drive gun and ammunition sales, as well as people getting a CHL. As they continue to keep demanding that law-abiding citizens must give up their rights, expect to see heavy demand for firearms-related purchases. It seems the record sales in the firearms industry is one section of the economy that President Obama can rightly take credit for. Many gun stores across the country now display his image with the words, "Salesman of the Year."

At the end of the June, there was an all-time record of approximately 381,834 Ohio residents licensed to carry concealed firearms. (See chart) The total number of persons with Ohio concealed handgun licenses continues to climb above the quarter of a million mark set a year and a half ago. Some will say that the huge numbers are because of renewals - and there were almost 16,000 renewals in the quarter - but there were over 32,000 new licenses issued. Even without renewals, that would still have been an all-time record.

Almost 16,000 of the approximately 22,700 licenses expiring during the quarter were renewed. Over 70% of all licenses issued have been renewed. Many sheriffs have added extra manpower to handle the increase in demand, but some are falling way behind in their ability to schedule and issue licenses. Anyone needing to renew should contact their sheriff (or those in adjoining counties) early in case they are asked to wait for months to get an appointment. If you find that a sheriff is not making at least 15 hours per week available to apply for your license, contact Buckeye Firearms Association and we will work with local authorities to make sure your sheriff is in compliance with the law.

There were 19 temporary emergency licenses (TEL) to carry a concealed handgun issued in the quarter, about average compared to prior years. TELs are only valid for 90 days and cannot be renewed. TELs are issued to persons who need to carry a firearm for protection, but don't have time to obtain the required training. Applicants must apply with their sheriff, pay a fee and pass a background check. The 90 days allows them time to obtain training and apply for a regular license. After issuance, a person must wait four years before they qualify for another TEL.

Even with record number of CHLs, there were only 81 licenses revoked during the quarter, below the average of the past several years. Prospective students are reminded that the application contains an affidavit where the student swears that he/she has received the appropriate training. Signing a false affidavit can subject persons to felony prosecutions and a permanent loss of firearms rights.

Less than six tenths of one percent of all CHLs have ever been revoked for any reason, including death or moving out of state. The establishment media love to make a big deal about the exceptional cases where a CHL breaks the law, but say almost nothing about the more than 99% of law-abiding license holders, many of whom have used their gun to protect life.

During the second quarter this year over 21 people per hour, or 733 per work-day, received a new or renewed CHL from an Ohio sheriff. The popular program is a good facilitator of communication between sheriffs and citizens. Take time to get to know your sheriff/deputy while obtaining/renewing your CHL. Law enforcement is generally very supportive of citizens' rights to carry firearms for self-defense.

We have several newly-elected sheriffs. We encourage you to talk with your sheriff as to their support for our continued efforts to update Ohio's concealed carry laws to make them friendlier to citizens. Explain which current gun bills you support and get their thoughts on the bills. We welcome your feedback. Law enforcement and armed citizens are on the same side opposing criminals. Hopefully we are returning to a time when we can work together for the rights of the "good guys."

License-holders, like gun owners in general, are not extremists as the anti-gun rights crowd claims. They are honorable citizens who want the means of protection from real dangers. They understand that police cannot, and are not obligated to protect individual citizens from rape or murder any more than they can prevent someone from running a red light. Responsible people wear a seat belt to protect themselves in a car accident. They also carry a gun to protect themselves from a criminal attack.

With over 376,000 Ohio citizens licensed to carry handguns, anytime you are in a group of 23 adults, odds are there is at least one licensee present. If you are with an older or more affluent group, the odds are even greater. Any school with 23 employees probably has one person with a CHL who could be authorized to carry a firearm in that school for the protection of the children. In short, there are few public locations you can travel in Ohio where there will not be a license-holder nearby. Unfortunately, because of the many places license-holders are still prohibited from carrying their guns, the license does not necessarily translate into having someone ready and armed to stop an attack.

In the first year of Ohio's concealed carry law, the anti-self-defense people bragged about the "small" demand for the new CHLs. They claimed that only a few fringe gun nuts wanted to carry "hidden" guns. It is clear that those who seek to deny others the right of self-defense are themselves the radical minority.

Every time legislation is passed improving the law, anti-self-defense pundits predict mayhem and problems that will result without tight restrictions on gun owners. Last year it was HB 495. This year they are focused on HB 203 and "stand your ground" laws. They have been wrong every time, but some newspapers and anti-gun politicians keep repeating their nonsense. A record number of Ohioans are carrying guns in more places and even through significant economic problems, we did not see any dramatic increase in violent crime. Meanwhile, reports indicate that new gun sales continue to be strong. This is yet another indication that more guns in the hands of good citizens do not cause any increase in crime, and is likely to deter criminals. Yet today we hear the same tired cries about our continued efforts to "de-Taft" our concealed carry laws. The same rantings are as wrong today as they were over the last 20 years. While no large group of people is perfect, the CHL-holder has proven to be considerably more law-abiding than the population at large.

It always takes time for the feelings of society to have a real change and adopt new safety ideas. It was once normal for kids to ride in cars without seat belts or even car seats. Today such behavior is considered criminally reckless. We rode bikes with no helmets. CPR was left to "the professionals."

Thousands of lives are saved annually because our society realized how quickly a life could be lost and how a few simple changes make the difference between life and death. With the surging numbers of gun owners and concealed carry licenses, the day seems to be a little closer at hand when carrying a gun for safety will be seen as being as sensible as wearing seat belts.

It has been over nine years since Ohio's concealed carry law took effect. It is clear that the law is working well and is popular with responsible, law-abiding adults who care about safety.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award" and the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award."

Further Information:

Ohio Attorney General - 2013 Q2 Concealed Carry Stats

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense


Media Coverage:

Attorney General Mike DeWine issued a press release concerning the record increase in CHL numbers.

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Akron Beacon-Journal - Ohioans on pace for record gun permits

Associated Press - New concealed weapons licenses in Ohio on the rise

Canton Repository - Surge of concealed carry permits continues

Cleveland Leader - Ohio on pace to issue record number of concealed carry gun permits

Columbus Dispatch - More than ever, Ohioans getting OK to carry concealed gun

Linda Walker, central Ohio chairwoman for Buckeye Firearms, said she was “excited to see the stats.”

Walker said the turbulent political climate and the economic situation are prompting people to obtain weapons to protect themselves.

Dayton Daily News - Gun permits spike in 2013

Gannett News Service - New concealed carry licenses nearly outstrip 2012 total

Pike County Daily - Second quarter concealed carry statistics released

Star-Beacon - Concealed-carry gun permits continue to soar in Ohio

WFMJ (NBC Youngstown) - Concealed carry gun licenses setting record pace in Ohio

WXIX (FOX Columbus) - 63k concealed carry permits issued in Ohio in 2013

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