Dispatch: Few conceal-carry permits revoked, records show

Ohio's establishment media is finally getting around to reporting on stats for first quarter 2006 concealed handgun license issuance, news which was published on this website back in May.

The Columbus Dispatch reported Sunday that, two years after Ohio sheriffs began issuing licenses allowing residents to carry concealed guns, VERY few of those licenses have been suspended or revoked.

Robert Cornwell, executive director of the Buckeye State Sheriffs’ Association, is quoted as saying "those with the concealed-carry licenses have been good, law-abiding citizens. The worst-case scenarios that were put out there about the gunfight at the OK Corral didn’t come to fruition."

Click on 'Read More' for the full story.

In an unusually balanced story (a much less balanced version was published on the Associated Press wire - and subsequently in many other Ohio newspapers - under the headline "Secrecy shrouds pulling of concealed carry permits"), Dispatch writer John Futty reveals that among the miniscule 0.29% of licenses that have been revoked for any reason, "more than half" of the licenses revoked in the first quarter of 2006 were because of the poor choice made by one Cuyahoga county individual:

    Of the 73,530 licenses issued from April 2004 through the first quarter of this year, sheriffs’ offices reported 391 suspensions and 217 revocations. That means roughly one of every 121 licenses was suspended or revoked.

    More than half of the 100 revocations issued statewide this year came from the Cuyahoga County sheriff’s office after accusations that dozens of license-holders were trained by a weapons instructor who didn’t provide the training required by state law.

    The instructor has been charged with 46 felony counts of forgery and 23 felony counts of tampering with records.

Buckeye Firearms Chairman Jim Irvine addressed this issue back in May:

I talked with several of the sheriff’s offices that dealt with this problem. Each sheriff promptly suspended or revoked the appropriate licenses and notified the holders of the problem. After retaking the required training, applicants could again be licensed to carry a handgun. Some people chose not to get the training, and thus are no longer licensed by the state. Having discussed this issue with dozens of NRA certified instructors, there is unified support for the NRA, its programs, and professional way this situation was handled. We commend the Sheriff’s office for the professional conduct in this situation, and each license-holder who has corrected their training problem. It is interesting to note that while these people carried guns without the state-mandated training, there were no accidental shootings, no wrongful shootings, and no criminal problems by any of these individuals.

Even including the problem with this one individual, less than 1% of concealed handgun licenses have been suspended or revoked for any reason. By comparison, 7.15% of drivers' licenses in the State of Ohio were suspended in 2005 alone.

The story goes on to note that despite the amazingly low number of suspensions and revocations, and despite a recent admission that the majority of Ohioans are not the gun ban extremists she always portrays them to be, gun ban extremist Toby Hoover is still upset:

    "I look at the stats and it doesn’t tell me a lot, because it doesn’t tell why they were suspended," said Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence.

    The law requires sheriffs, whose offices issue the licenses, to suspend the license of anyone arrested or charged with certain crimes, including any felony, drug offense or domestic-violence offense. A court-issued protection order against the license-holder also results in suspension.

    The license is to be revoked if the holder is convicted of a disqualifying crime or moves out of the state. There also are prohibitions on those judged mentally incompetent or drug or alcohol dependent.

Two omissions from the story are more common reasons for which licenses are revoked - a CHL-holder moving out of state or passing away.

The Dispatch story is notable for something else, in that it reveals that sheriffs in Franklin and Cuyahoga counties recently denied media requests to provide information that exceeded the limits of the law - something that sheriffs in Shelby and Lucas county failed to do when they were asked for protected information (Shelby Co.), or asked in an improper way (Lucas Co.), in 2004.

    The law restricts the release of information about the licenses to journalists, whose access is limited to the names, birth dates and county of residence for license-holders. News organizations have argued that information on the licenses should be open to the public.

    Sheriffs’ offices in Franklin and Cuyahoga counties cited state law last month in denying a Dispatch request for copies of notification letters the offices have mailed to those whose licenses were suspended or revoked.

    Supervisors in both offices said they are confident that the system for identifying licenses that must be suspended or revoked is working.

Indeed, as Jim Irvine wrote in May...

The numbers make a strong case for the excellent job the Ohio Sheriff’s are doing in issuing licenses to law-abiding citizens and weeding out those that are not qualified. This is yet another example proving the predictions of the media elitists wrong. It is also interesting to note that while the media cried that the public was in danger if they did not have access to the name, age, county, and type of license issued, there would be massive problems. Of course the Sheriff’s don’t need the media standing over their shoulder to make sure “only the right people are issued a license” as anti-self-defense groups claimed.

Again, from the story:

    State Rep. James Aslanides, a Republican from Coshocton who was chief sponsor of the legislation allowing Ohioans to carry concealed guns, has opposed the public release of any information about license holders, saying it endangers them and their families.

    "I have argued that records are too open when it comes to those who have the licenses, but whether they are too closed on revocations and suspensions is another argument," he said. "I'd rather have journalists have access to the revocations and suspensions than information about all license holders."

While Ohio’s concealed carry law has been in effect for over two years, the media has yet to show any “public good” from printing licensee’s names. Gun ban extremist Toby Hoover has failed to show why a program that is resulting in so few suspensions (0.53%) or revocations (0.29%) is in need of deeper scrutiny. There can be no doubt that if there had been major issues behind these revocations, Hoover and the sympathetic media would have sought to make the individuals involved in the incidents household names. The types of problems they predicted simply did not happen.

In addition to the reforms contained in HB347, Buckeye Firearms Association continues to call on legislators to pass amended HB9 in it’s current form, to stop the media from harassing law-abiding gun owners and to protect license-holders' privacy, much as Federal law protects drivers' license-holders.

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