Attorney General announces Third Quarter 2015 CHL statistics; 34% increase over prior year

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has released the Concealed Handgun License (CHL) statistics for the third quarter of 2015. There were a total of 26,139 licenses issued during the quarter, exceeding the average demand for CHLs for the 16th straight quarter.

Governor John Kasich (R) signed HB 234 in December of 2014. In the first two quarters of 2014, when bills were just languishing in the legislature, there were declines of 48% and 50% in year over year demand. HB 234 took effect in March of 2015. The next quarter saw demand for initial CHLs surge 23% over the same quarter a year earlier. The just released third quarter numbers show a 34% increase over the same quarter the prior year.

Renewal numbers fell slightly compared to the same period the prior year, but that was only because fewer licenses expired during the quarter. The 81% renewal rate was eight points better than last year and is the highest rate of renewals in more than two years.

As we have seen many times, when concealed carry laws are improved, more people participate. Bad laws serve as a barrier to entry, which is one reason the anti-self-defense groups get so upset any indication that good bills are progressing through the legislature. Given the strong popularity of concealed carry, both in Ohio and nationally, it’s hard to understand why many legislators still view improving carry laws as controversial.

There were 16,000 new CHLs issued during the third quarter of this year, more than 4,000 over the same period last year. There were an additional 10,129 CHLs renewed during the quarter, making it the 29th consecutive quarter with increasing total numbers of valid licenses outstanding. There are now 475,000 Ohioans licensed to carry concealed handguns.

There were 10 Temporary Emergency Licenses (TELs) issued in the third quarter. 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.

Professor Brian Anse Patrick of University of Toledo has made the point that concealed carry should no longer be viewed as something that only appeals to a tiny percentage of the population. Rather, Patrick says the data indicate an “S” curve where the program is still accelerating in popularity. The numbers from Ohio and nationwide certainly seem to fit his model.

There were 95 licenses revoked during the quarter. That is below the average over the past six years; an amazing statistic considering that we have seen a 400% increase in the number of license holders over that period.

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 exceptional cases where a licensee 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. About one in four revocations were because the training to obtain the license was deficient. Prospective CHL 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.

During the third quarter, almost 12 people per hour around the clock received a new or renewed CHL from an Ohio sheriff. That is almost 400 licenses issued per work day in Ohio. The popular program is a 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 current gun rights 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. 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.

With nearly one-half million Ohio citizens licensed to carry handguns, anytime you are in a group of 20 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 20 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, Governor Taft insisted that Ohio law contain a long and arduous list of victim zones, or places where the CHL is not valid. As unpopular as Taft was, it is interesting that many in the Ohio legislature seem to cling to this failed idea, and we have seen only tiny improvements to the list of victim zones over the past 10 years. Improvements to this section of law are long overdue. HB 48 and other bills are pending in the legislature would make needed improvements to Ohio law. Contact your State Senator to ask them to support moving HB 48 quickly, and tell them which victim zones you want repealed.

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. They have been wrong every time, but some newspapers and anti-gun politicians keep repeating their nonsense. Other media outlets seemed to have turned the corner as evidenced by many positive stories. The public reaction to recent terrorist attacks in Paris and California suggest that America is getting sick of the deadly results of gun control. 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 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.

Ohio’s concealed carry law has been in effect for over 11 years. 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 President, BFA PAC Chairman 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."

Further Information:

Ohio Attorney General - 2015 Q3 Concealed Carry Stats

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense

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