Concealed-carry process goes smoothly in Athens County

After initial holdups over a misunderstanding about what was necessary to complete mental health records check (see Athens Co. Sheriff needs help with the definition of ''OR'', things seem to be moving right along now in Athens Co.

May 12, 2004
Athens Messenger

Sheriffs' offices throughout Ohio are being accused of approving concealed carry licenses too slowly, but not in Athens County.

Ohioans were permitted to give their fingerprints to sheriffs' offices to begin background checks to obtain a concealed carry permit on April 8. Since that day, about 270 applications have been submitted to the Athens County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's Office Administrative Assistant Michelle Williams said so far, about 150 applications have been approved or are in the process of being approved. Since the initial rush of applications — 120 in the first few days — Williams said the sheriff's office is now able to approve a permit in about one week.

Sheriff Vern Castle said it took about two weeks to approve the permits [received] in the first few days.

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

Meanwhile in Franklin County, applicants have to wait one month just to have the sheriff's office take fingerprints, according to an Associated Press report. Then it takes about one week to be approved.

In Delaware County, applicants can have fingerprints taken immediately, but it takes about a month for the permit to be issued, according to the AP.

Williams said so far, no one has complained about how long it takes to get approved, rather, some applicants have thanked the sheriff's office for being well-organized.

On the second day of taking fingerprints, Castle said the fingerprint machine jammed and stopped taking prints, which slowed the process some because prints had to be taken manually.

Castle said the machine also has a harder time reading the fingerprints of people with finer fingerprint details — such as Asians — and people with worn down fingerprints — mostly older individuals.

So far, no applicant has been denied, Williams said, though a few applicants will have their 45-day waiting period extended* so the sheriff's office can conduct a more thorough background check.

Castle did note that most serious offense committed by any of the approved applicants was a driving while intoxicated offense dating back several years ago.

One aspect of the process that has resulted in more paperwork is doing background checks for other counties.

In addition, the sheriff's office has received about 40 or 50 applicants from other county sheriffs' offices requesting a background check for applicants who are former Athens County residents, Williams said. This likely will continue to be a source of more paperwork because Ohio University students will move out of the county.

Also Williams noted that men have overwhelmingly applied for concealed carry permits compared to women. The sheriff's office only has had about 10 to 15 women apply so far, and most of them applied the same time their husbands did.

*There is NO provision in the law to extend the 45-day deadline to do deeper background checks. The shall-issue
provision reads as follows:

    R.C. 2923.125 (D) (1) Except as provided in division (D)(3), (4), or (5) of this section, within forty-five days after receipt of an applicant's completed application form for a license to carry a concealed handgun, the supporting documentation, and, if not waived, license fee, a sheriff shall make available through the law enforcement automated data system in accordance with division (H) of this section the information described in that division and, upon making the
    information available through the system, shall issue to the applicant a license to carry a concealed handgun that shall expire four years after the date of issuance if all of the following apply...

(D)(3) provides for a delay if there is a pending arrest on a charge for which
conviction would disqualify the applicant.
(D)(4) provides for a delay if the
residency requirement is not met yet.
(D)(5) doesn't appear to exist in the code.

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