Gun ban extremists' rhetoric proven false on eve of OH Castle Doctrine debate

By Chad D. Baus

"Shoot First, Ask Questions Later"
"Kingdom Doctrine"
"Deadly Force: From Last Resort to First Option"
"Duel Clause"
"License To Murder"
"Crack Dealers' Get Out of Jail Free Card"

We've all heard the rhetoric. In fact, when Florida passed a Castle Doctrine bill, the Brady bunch erected billboards and passed out flyers in airports warning tourists about angry locals.

"This," Brady said of the new Florida measure, "will be the thing that will awaken the sleeping great number of Middle Americans who will think this is so absurd." In Texas, they claimed the law only makes things better for criminals.

Two years later, of course, all is well in Florida. Capt. Mark Strobridge of the Orange County, Fla., Sheriff's Department recently told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that "locally there's been no impact."

If the sleeping great number of middle Americans were awakened by Florida's Castle Doctine law, it wasn't as the Brady bunch predicted. Many people are shocked to learn this is not already law and cannot understand why or how our laws ever got so screwed up. As a result, at least 16 states, including our neighboring states Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan have already enacted similar legislation.

With the debate on Castle Doctrine about to begin in Ohio (HB264/HB184), there is no doubt the rhetoric is about to start being floated here as well. Indeed, similar rhetoric was thrown about before Ohio passed its concealed carry law in 2004 by anti-self-defense extremists:

"Shootouts at Fender Benders"
"Return to Dodge City"
"Vigilante wanna-be"

But as an eye-opening new study conducted by Howard Nemerov for Buckeye Firearms Association proves, legislators considering passage of Castle Doctrine in Ohio needn't be concerned - that's because the gun ban extremists' rhetoric about concealed carry in Ohio was completely, provably false.


By Howard Nemerov

The purpose of the following study is to determine the
relative criminality of concealed carry licensees versus the general population
of Ohio. In order to do this, we will compare the number of concealed carry
license suspensions and revocations to the arrest rates for the entire state
population in 2004. This paper begins with a section displaying the raw data
for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2004 reporting year, and follows with
a second section discussing the data.

Table Data

Table 1: Ohio Total CCW Revocation/Suspension vs. Arrest Rates
Concealed Carry Licensees General Public
Sus/Rev* Pop. Percent
of CHLs


Pop.** Percent
of Pop.
2004* 160[1] 45,497[2] 0.4689 271,838[3] 7,816,430[4] 3.4778 7.42
2005 294[5] 67,984[6] 0.5766 251,917[7] 6,557,771[8] 3.8415 6.66
Average 227 56,741 0.5334 261,878 7,187,101 3.6437 6.83

* Annualized assuming identical rate of suspension/revocation
per quarter: CCW law began 2nd quarter.

** The population here is the estimated total living in
jurisdictions covered by reporting agencies included in the FBI arrest data

Table 2: Cost Per Crime Incident
Murder Rape Robbery Aggravated
Burglary Larceny MV Theft
In 1993 dollars[9] $2,940,000 $87,000 $8,000 $24,000 $1,400 $370 $3,700
2004 Cost[10] $3,843,363 $113,732 $10,458 $31,414 $1,830 $484 $4,837
2005 Cost[11] $3,973,578 $117,585 $10,812 $32,437 $1,892 $500 $5,001

Table 3: Cost Savings . FBI Crimes[12]
Cost of Crimes RTC Effect New Cost
2004 $3,726,445,626 $3,224,023,192 $502,422,435
2005 4,131,105,297 3,511,030,058 620,075,239
Total $7,857,550,923 $6,735,053,250 $1,122,497,673
Yearly Average $3,928,775,462 $3,367,526,625 $564,248,837

Analysis of Table Data

Because there are only two reporting years' worth of data for both Ohio's concealed carry law and FBI crime at the time of this paper, two years of data was combined to create an average indicator value, in order to determine the relative lawfulness of concealed handgun licensees (CHLs). For the years of 2004/5, there was an annual average of 227 suspensions and revocations. (Data for 2004 was annualized to 160, in order to compare licensee data to Ohio 2004 arrest data for the entire year, as tabulated in Table 1 to determine relative rates of criminality between the two populations.)

During this study period, there was an average of 261,878 arrests among Ohio's general population. Assuming that all CHLs committed crimes mandating arrest, we compute that the general population is 6.83 times as likely to be arrested as

Next, we must place a price tag on crime: how much each incident costs the state of Ohio. In 1996, the Department of Justice came out with a report entitled Victim Costs and Consequences: A New Look, where they calculated how much each type of crime victimization cost society in terms of medical, emotional, social, and work-related costs. Their cost estimates were based upon 1993 dollars, so Table 2 recalculates each crime category to reflect dollar values at the end of each reporting period.

As shown in Table 3, Ohio's average annual cost of FBI crime was $3,928,775,462. This is equivalent to about 37% of the recommended 2007 executive budget for Ohio's Department of Education.[13]

The reduction in the cost of crime, assuming the general population is as law-abiding as concealed carry licensees, can be called the 'RTC Effect'. This amount averages $3,367,526,625 for the years in this study, reducing the total cost of FBI crime 85.7% to a projected annual amount of $564,248,837.

This is actually a conservative estimate, as CHLs may lose their license for non-criminal reasons. For example, a license can be suspended 'if the licensee is the subject of a protection order issued by a court'.[14] This does not necessarily mean the licensee is guilty of making, or even considering, a threat or violent action. Revocation can occur simply because the licensee died or moved out of state.[15] There are new crime categories specific to concealed carry licensees, which can result in suspension or revocation, such as using a weapon while intoxicated.[16] A license will be revoked if the licensee carries a concealed handgun into unauthorized places.[17] There are misdemeanor offenses which may result in suspension or revocation that are not necessarily included in the FBI crime categories.[18] Many of these violations may end up being 'victimless,' in that only the doer suffers consequences from their actions. It is impossible to determine if all revocations are due to criminal behavior, because 'Sheriffs are not required by the law to report the specific reason for the revocation'.[19]

For example, if just 10% of the suspensions and revocations are due to non-criminal violations of the concealed carry law, the general population would have been arrested 7.58 times as often as CHLs. Also, the cost of FBI crime to the state would have fallen from an average of $564 million per year to $505 million (an 87.1% decrease from actual), had the entire population been as law-abiding as CHLs.

It should not surprise anyone that CHLs are more law-abiding than the general population: they must undergo proper firearms safety training and they must be certified via a criminal history background check that they are sufficiently law-abiding to be entrusted with such responsibility.

Persons who apply for a license are required to undergo a criminal history background check to ensure that they are not prohibited by law from carrying a concealed handgun. For persons who have lived in Ohio for five years or more, the sheriff submits the applicant's fingerprints electronically to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation for an in-state criminal background check. Applicants who have lived in Ohio fewer than five years are required to undergo a national check through the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[20]


Concealed carry licensees have made a considered choice to conduct themselves a certain manner in public, and have invested the time, money, and effort to certify that their level of commitment has earned the public's trust. They have voluntarily undergone background checks normally reserved for government jobs or actual criminal arrests, in order to certify that they rank among Ohio's most law-abiding citizens prior to receiving their license. These data prove that Ohio's trust has not been in vain.


[1] Jim Petro, 2004 Ohio Concealed Handgun Law Report, State of Ohio Attorney General's Office, February 24, 2005, page 29.
[2] Ibid, page 29.
[3] Table 69, Arrests by State, 2004, Crime in the United States 2004, Federal Bureau of Investigation, page 342.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Jim Petro, Ohio Concealed Handgun Law: Annual Report for 2005, State of Ohio Attorney General's Office, February 10, 2006, page 8.
[6] Ibid, page 4.
[7] Table 69, Arrests by State, 2005, Federal Bureau of Investigation.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Victim Costs and Consequences: A New Look. Miller, Cohen, Wiersema. National Institute of Justice Research Report, US Department of Justice, January, 1996, Table 2, page 9.
[10] Bureau of Labor Statistics, Inflation Calculator.
[11] Ibid.
[12] Summarized from spreadsheets using FBI data for reported years. Email request for Excel workbook.
[13] Melaney Carter and Sarkis Mahdasian, LSC Redbook for the Department of Education, House Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, Ohio Department of Education, February 24, 2005, page 27.
[14] Jim Petro, Ohio Concealed Handgun Law: Annual Report for 2005, State of Ohio Attorney General's Office, February 10, 2006, page 4.
[15] Ibid.
[16] Bill Analysis H.B. 274, Michael J. O.Neill, Legislative Service Commission, State of Conditions for suspension, page 11.
[17] Ibid, Conditions for revocation, pages 11-12.
[18] Ibid, 'When license must be issued' criteria noted on page 7 and discussed on pages 11-12.
[19] Jim Petro, Ohio Concealed Handgun Law: Annual Report for 2005, State of Ohio Attorney General's Office, February 10, 2006, page 4.
[20] Ibid.

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