Annual Attorney General Summary on Concealed Carry: 2017 sees record number of active licensees

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has released the Concealed Handgun License (CHL) statistics for the fourth quarter of 2017 and the annual report. More Ohioans than ever are discreetly carrying firearms as they go about their day.

2017 saw a decline in initial applications compared to the prior year, which was the all-time high for demand. But with steady renewals of an ever-increasing number of license holders there is now a record 650,000 active CHL’s. Concealed carry has clearly moved from something “gun people” do to something “safety-minded people” do.

For the person without a CHL, what this means is that anytime they look around and see 14 other people, odds are that one of them has a CHL. Concealed carry is mainstream, common sense and is close to most people on a daily basis. It works so well that most people are blissfully unaware that anyone else is carrying a gun. Most people with a CHL have no desire to intimidate anyone. License-holders quietly go about their lives just like anyone else, except they have the tools and training to defend life when the threat of death or grave bodily harm arises.

The renewal rate for the fourth quarter was 72%, or about average for the life of the program.

During the fourth quarter Ohio sheriffs issued 15,277 initial CHLs, 13,849 renewed CHLs and eight Temporary Emergency Licenses (TELs). They issued a total of 131,345 licenses during the year.

2017 was the fifth year in a row that Ohio Sheriffs issued over 100,000 licenses (initial and renewal) in the year. As has been noted before, this appears to be a new normal for CHL demand, supporting a theory expressed by the late Professor Brian Anse Patrick that demand has not leveled off, but is increasing over time.

Even with the record number of CHLs, there were only 110 licenses revoked during the quarter, which is the average for the year. Less than one half of one percent of all CHLs have ever been revoked for any reason, including death or moving out of state.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 exceptionalcases 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 fourth quarter last year over 13 people per hour, or over 440 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 encourage you to talk with your sheriff about their support for our continued efforts to update Ohio's concealed carry laws to make them friendlier to citizens. Explain which issues you support and get their thoughts as well. We welcome your feedback. Law enforcement and armed citizens are on the same side opposing criminals. In recent years we seem to be 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.

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. They have been wrong every time, but some newspapers and anti-gun politicians keep repeating their nonsense. Thankfully most people understand the truth and ignore the radicals opposed to legal self-defense.

In the current environment when emotions and yelling seem to rule the day, it is important to look at the facts. Restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners will not deter criminals from illegal activity or make the mentally incompetent sane. Those problems must be dealt with. Blaming the law-abiding for the acts of criminals is either insane or evil.

Many media outlets have done a good job with factual reports on firearms and gun owners. A record number of Ohioans are carrying guns in more places, yet we have not seen any dramatic increase in violent crime. 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. It is time to fully “de-Taft” our CHL laws and bring Ohio in line with the majority of states. 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 can be 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 steadily increasing number 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.

April 8, 2018 will mark fourteen 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 Chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association Political Action Committee (BFA-PAC). He is also Board President of Buckeye Firearms Association, and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award," the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award," and the SAF's 2015 "Defender of Freedom Award."

Additional Information:

Ohio Attorney General - 2017 Annual Report

Ohio Attorney General - 2017 Q4 Concealed Carry Stats

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense

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