Attorney General announces First Quarter 2010 CHL statistics

By Jim Irvine

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray (D) has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the first quarter of 2010. At the end of March, we had an all-time record of 188,665 Ohio residents licensed to carry concealed firearms. (See chart)

During this election year, more politicians are touting their pro-gun stances and seeking our endorsements for use in radio and TV commercials. Only the anti-gunners need a report to know that concealed carry is a popular, mainstream idea in both rural and urban areas. It's not "about the gun," as they claim, but about safety.

There were 11,989 new regular licenses issued, 24 temporary emergency licenses (TELs) and 4,100 licenses renewed in the first three months of this year. Three out of four expiring licenses were renewed. Only 52 licenses were revoked. Less than one-half of 1 percent of all CHLs have ever been revoked for any reason, including death or moving out of state.

Concealed carry works.

The first quarter of 2010 is the first time in three years that we have not seen an increase over the prior-year numbers. While some will laud the 27 percent decrease over the first quarter of 2009, the demand remains exceedingly strong. The past quarter saw the second-highest number of licenses ever issued during the first three months of any year since concealed carry became law in Ohio. It only appears as a drop when comparing it to a record quarter which saw demand spike up 139 percent compared to the prior year. While demand decreased from that record quarter, it is still an increase over the prior two quarters. We expect to see similar results when the second quarter results are released.

During the first quarter of this year over seven people per hour, or almost 250 per work-day, received a new or renewed CHL from an Ohio sheriff. With such a popular program for their constituents, and getting their much-sought-after fee increases last year, it is puzzling that the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association (BSSA) is opposed to our current reform bill, SB239.

We encourage you to inquire with your elected sheriff as to their support for this effort to update Ohio's current concealed carry laws to make them more consistent with those in other states. We welcome your feedback if you are able to learn why your sheriff is opposed to your having similar protection for your family in restaurants that his deputies patronize. It seems they have forgotten that they work for you.

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

With over 188,000 Ohio citizens licensed to carry handguns, anytime you are in a group of five dozen 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. In short, there are few public locations you can travel 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 now clear that those who seek to deny others the right of self-defense are themselves the radical minority.

Their predictions of "blood in the streets" have never materialized. A record number of Ohioans are carrying guns. 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 eight years ago. 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 permits and licenses, the day when carrying a gun for safety will be seen as sensible as wearing as wearing seat belts seems to be a little closer at hand.

It has been over six 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.

Further Information:
Ohio Attorney General - 2010 Q1 Concealed Carry Stats

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense

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