Evaluation: First 180 days with Ohio's Concealed Carry Law

The Ohio Attorney General's office has released data on the second three months of concealed handgun license issuance (July - Sept 2004).

---->Concealed Carry Licensure Statistics Report - 3rd Qtr 2004 (.pdf)

OFCC's overall assessment:

In the first 180 days under the new law, 38,434 standard licenses, and 42 temporary emergency licenses were issued to Ohio residents.

No matter what the program, summer months (which encompassed this entire Q3 report) are always slower months. When released, it is highly likely the quarter four report will show the typical Fall increase. Thousands more applications are now being processed, and thousands more future applicants are now in training. Nevertheless, as they did after the first three months' numbers were released, gun ban extremists and the liberal media are expected to claim that the 38,500 licenses issued are "proof" that demand for the new law is low.

In truth, this latest round of issuances have reinforced the fact that this is one of the most successful pieces of consumer legislation in state history. Nearly 40,000 Ohioans have taken advantage of it in the first six months!

There were higher expectations for 2004 applications, based upon patterns established after other states like Michigan passed their laws. But it is important to remember that no other state passed laws with some of the egregious restrictions that Ohioans must deal with.

As OFCC has been reporting since the day the law took effect, restrictive appointment schedules, misapplication of the law, the unlawful addition of provisions by a few sheriffs not required by the General Assembly, and blatant obstinance on the part of sheriffs in a few of Ohio's most populous counties, have significantly reduced the number of applications able to be processed in the first 90 days.

The map at right depicts areas where county sheriffs are doing their jobs extremely well, and also depicts high population centers that where few applicants (per capita) are able to be processed. It is these counties which continue to skew Ohio's totals.

A few examples from around the state will reveal the impact of problem sheriffs:

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

Geauga vs. Cuyahoga

    Geauga County has issued more than double the number of licenses as Cuyahoga, while having only just over 1/14th the population. License-holders in both Geauga AND Cuyahoga have had to endure being discriminated against by an area newspaper, the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

    Geauga: Pop. 93,941, issued 1385
    Cuyahoga: Pop. 1,363,888, issued 579

    Cuyahoga County Sheriff Gerald McFaul started off by refusing to issue CHLs, and being sued. As a result, his is one of the only two counties in Ohio that actually increased CHL-issuance in the third quarter. Even so, McFaul's restrictive policy of allowing only 40 applications per week has resulted in the state's most populous county having issued a very small number of licenses.

Trumbull vs. Mahoning:

    Trumbull County has issued almost twice as many licenses as Mahoning, while having a smaller population.

    Trumbull: Pop 221,785, issued 1131
    Mahoning: Pop 251,660, issued 726

    Numerous problems are being reported in Mahoning County, including a CHL-holder who has been waiting over 90 days for word on his license application. As word gets out about problems in certain counties, applications will naturally decline. Mahoning County recorded a steep decline in the second quarter, going from 521 to only 144, while Trumbull County followed the state-wide pattern for slower summer applications.

Rural counties can also suffer from a sheriff who abuses the law:

Champaign vs. Shelby:

    Champaign County has issued 40% more licenses than Shelby Co., while having 20% less population.

    Champaign: Pop 39,544, issued 196
    Shelby: Pop 48,566, issued 118

    Numerous problems are being reported in Shelby County, including a felony investigation for the release of confidential information about licensees, drug dog being sent in to sniff CHL-students, and the attempted imposition of a mandatory 13th hour of training.

Restrictive appointment schedules hamper license issuance:

The following sheriffs are among those who cut application hours to just a few hours a week. The results speak for themselves. In every case applications dipped far more than the rate of summer slow-down:

    Darke: issued 121 in Q2, 44 in Q3
    Fulton: issued 169 in Q2, issued 39 in Q3
    Seneca: issued 130 in Q2, issued 41 in Q3
    Union: issued 250 in Q2, issued 56 in Q3
    Warren: issued 325 in Q2, issued 132 in Q3

Even in two "CCW-friendly" counties, the impact of restrictive appointment schedules is becoming apparent:

Hamilton vs. Clermont

    Clermont County, which operates a very efficient application operation, has issued 40% more licenses than Hamilton Co., while having only 1/5th the population. Hamilton County offers a limited appointment schedule.

    Clermont: Pop 185,799, issued 1,933
    Hamilton: Pop 823,472, issued 1,165

A comprehensive study of Ohio sheriffs' implementation of this law is being conducted by OFCC at this time. The above examples are snapshots - a much more complete picture of the job sheriffs are doing will be made available in the coming weeks. Suffice it to say that considering the challenges applicants have faced in the first 180 days (and which many still do face), the fact that 38,476 licenses were issued to Ohio residents sends a strong message that the choice for armed self-defense is, in fact, in serious demand in our state.

24 CHLs, or 0.062%, have been revoked in the first six months. OFCC has learned that several of these were revoked because license-holder died, not because of any legal infractions.

48 CHLs, or 0.12%, were suspended in the first six months. OFCC has learned that several of these suspensions have since been reinstated after non-firearms-related charges against the license-holder were dropped.

By comparison, 7.00% of drivers' licenses in the State of Ohio were suspended in 2003.

362 standard license applications, and 4 temporary emergency license applications, have been denied in the first six months.

In addition to proper instances of denial of disqualified applicants, OFCC has learned that some denials were as a result of individuals who showed up with training documents that were not accepted, but
which legally should have been. For example, certain sheriffs are known to have turned away individuals for having taken training from instructors who were not "approved" or "registered" with the sheriff. The law provides no such "approval" or "registration" process for instructors with sheriffs.

These individuals were forced to re-take training, and were subsequently granted a license.



  • The media has already documented several licensed citizens who have already been able to defend their lives when violently attacked. Most instances of armed self-defense never make headlines.
  • Approximately twenty state and national chains and approximately 200 other businesses have removed their discriminatory signs barring CHL-holders.
  • Most Ohio Sheriffs are serving their constituents and their duty under the law quite well. They backed passage of this law and they are working hard to issue licenses.
  • Two defiant Sheriffs have lost cases filed against them, and third is still being investigated. Cuyahoga Co.'s Sheriff McFaul settled a lawsuit, paid all attorney's fees and court costs, and began issuing licenses after a short delay last spring. This fall, Ohio Supreme Court told Franklin Co.'s Sheriff Karnes he was wrong to demand from applicants additional 'proof' that a temporary emergency license was needed. In a third case, a special prosecutor is (still) investigating Shelby Co. Sheriff O'Leary for releasing protected information about CHL-holders to the media.
  • Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro has declared that local ordinances and rules seeking to restrict concealed carry an invalid, and has filed a Motion to Intervene on behalf of OFCC in our suit against City of Clyde. He has ruled that providing a social security number on a CHL application is voluntary, and he filed a request with the Supreme Court to have Toby Hoover's anti-CCW lawsuit thrown out for lack of standing.
  • In a unanimous decision, the Ohio Supreme Court did toss Hoover's lawsuit which claimed county sheriffs do not have the resources to conduct thorough background checks of permit applicants. The Court found that her case did not have standing with that court.
  • At this time last year, no one thought we'd have 38,476 licensed citizens protecting themselves and their families on the streets of Ohio.
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