Concealed Handguns: Danger or Asset to Ohio?
By Howard Nemerov
The purpose of this 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 FBI arrest data for the entire state, yielding proxies for the violation rates of licensees and the general population, respectively.
With each succeeding year of reporting data, the results become more reliable. There are now two full year’s of data (2005 and 2006) plus partial data for 2004, when the concealed carry law went into effect in the second quarter of the year. While two and three-quarters years of data is too short to note any trends, the results are relatively consistent across the reporting years.
For the year 2006, there was a dramatic increase in the numbers of license revocations. As noted by Buckeye Firearms Association:
There was an increase in the number of revoked licenses in the first quarter. Over half (fifty-three of the one hundred and three) of the revocations were in Cuyahoga County. There were also increases in several nearby counties.1
At first glance, this is a cause for concern. However, further research uncovered an unusual problem that caused an anomalous increase in revocations having nothing to do with licensee malfeasance.
Lieutenant Reginald Eakins of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department estimated there were 92 people who had concealed handgun license revocations because they were provided insufficient training through no fault of their own. To cut costs, the instructor in question had students shoot at a cardboard box with BB guns on his own property, rather than renting a qualified shooting range for the required live-fire training.2
As the Ohio State Attorney General notes:
County sheriffs are responsible for verification of competency certification before issuing a concealed handgun license. The concealed carry law establishes the methods of acceptable training including competency certification of at least 10 hours of training in the following matters:
- The ability to name, explain and demonstrate the rules for safe handling of a handgun and proper storage practices for handguns and ammunition;
- The ability to demonstrate and explain how to handle ammunition in a safe manner;
- The ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitude necessary to shoot a handgun in a safe manner;
- Gun handling training.
The Ohio State Attorney General also states that in order to qualify under the requirements of the law, a program must: “Have a total of 12 hours of training which includes two hours of live-fire training…”3 [Emphasis added]
This instructor violated training requirements noted above. Lieutenant Eakins said that after being notified of the reason for their license revocation, most of these students attended a class including all requirements, whereupon they were issued a concealed handgun license. Considering these facts, for the purpose of deriving an indicator of relative lawfulness, it is reasonable to exclude these people from the revocation count for 2006 since it is clear their revocations were not due to irresponsible or criminal behavior. It is also clear that the law works, as the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department was able to take the mandated action regardless of the reason the license was no longer valid.
The next section displays the raw data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Ohio State Attorney General’s Office, followed by an analysis.
|Table 1: Ohio Total CCW Revocation/Suspension vs. Arrest Rates|
|Concealed Carry Licensees||General Population|
|Table 2: Cost Per Crime Incident|
|Murder||Rape||Robbery||Aggravated Assault||Burglary||Larceny||MV Theft|
|In 1993 dollars18||$2,940,000||$87,000||$8,000||$24,000||$1,400||$370||$3,700|
|Table 3: Cost Savings – FBI Crimes22|
|Cost of Crimes||RTC Effect||New Cost|
Analysis of Table Data
For the years of 2004-2006, there was an annual average of 303 suspensions and revocations, a rate of 453.3 violations per 100,000 population. During this period, there was an average of 252,920 arrests among Ohio’s general population included in the FBI’s report, a rate of 3,781.1. Assuming that all suspensions and revocations were due to suspected criminal offenses, the general population is 8.34 times as likely to be arrested as licensees.
The next step is to place a price tag on crime: How much did each incident cost the state of Ohio? In 1996, the U.S. Department of Justice published 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. The DOJ 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 studied here.
As shown in Table 3, Ohio’s average annual cost of FBI crime was $4,046,007,959. The $4.29 billion in estimated FBI crime costs for 2006 was equivalent to 39.6% of the recommended 2007 executive budget for Ohio’s Department of Education.23
The reduction in the cost of crime, assuming the general population is as law-abiding as concealed carry licensees, can be called the “CCW Effect”. This amount averages $3,543,024,708 for the years in this study, reducing the total cost of FBI crime 87.6% to a projected annual amount of $543,700,760. Savings for the CCW Effect in 2006 would be equal to 34.6% of the 2007 Ohio education budget.
This is actually a conservative estimate. 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.”24 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.25 There are new crime categories specific to concealed carry licensees, which can result in suspension or revocation, such as using a weapon while intoxicated.26 A license will be revoked if the licensee carries a concealed handgun into unauthorized places.27 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 felonious
behavior, because “Sheriffs are not required to report the reason for a revocation”.28 However, 2006 data shows that a significant number of suspensions were not due to licensee malfeasance.
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. Ohio.29
Concealed carry licensees have made a considered choice to conduct themselves a in 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.
2 Phone conversation on July 16, 2007 with Lieutenant Reginald Eakins, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department, 1215 W. 3rd St., Cleveland, Ohio 44113 (216) 443-6000
3 Ohio’s Concealed Carry Training, Ohio State Attorney General, page 1. http://ag.state.oh.us/le/prevention/pubs/concealed_carry_training.pdf
4 The population here is the estimated total living in jurisdictions covered by reporting agencies included in the FBI arrest reports.
5 Annualized assuming identical rate of suspension/revocation per quarter: CCW law began 2nd quarter.
6 Jim Petro, 2004 Ohio Concealed Handgun Law Report, State of Ohio Attorney General’s Office, February 24, 2005, page 29. http://www.ag.state.oh.us/le/prevention/concealcarry/docs/04_cc_annual_rpt.pdf
7 Ibid, page 29.
8 Table 69 - Arrests by State, 2004, Crime in the United States 2004, Federal Bureau of Investigation, page 342. http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius_04/documents/CIUS2004.pdf
10 Jim Petro, Ohio Concealed Handgun Law: Annual Report for 2005, State of Ohio Attorney General’s Office, February 10, 2006, page 8. http://www.ag.state.oh.us/le/prevention/concealcarry/docs/05_cc_annual_rpt.pdf
11 Ibid, page 4.
12 Table 69 - Arrests by State, 2005, Federal Bureau of Investigation. http://www.fbi.gov/filelink.html?file=/ucr/05cius/data/documents/05tbl69.xls
14 Marc Dann, 2006 Annual Report, Ohio’s Concealed Carry Law, State of Ohio Attorney General’s Office, February 21, 2007. Suspensions on page 3, revocations on page 4, minus 92 from Note 2. http://www.ag.state.oh.us/le/prevention/concealcarry/docs/05_cc_annual_rpt.pdf
15 Ibid, page 3.
16 Table 69 - Arrests by State, 2006, Federal Bureau of Investigation. http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2006/data/documents/06tbl69.xls
18 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. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/victcost.pdf
22 Summarized from spreadsheets using FBI data for reported years. Crimes reported for years 2004 and 2005 updated using updated FBI data. Email request for Excel workbook.
23 Melaney Carter, Ed Millane, and Carol Whitmer, LSC Redbook for the Department of Education, House Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, Ohio Legislative Service Commission, March 29, 2007. Total Executive Recommendation Fiscal Year 2007 from Table 3, page 6. http://www.lbo.state.oh.us/fiscal/budget/RedbooksHouse/RBH127GA/EDU.pdf
24 Marc Dann, 2006 Annual Report, Ohio’s Concealed Carry Law, State of Ohio Attorney General’s Office, February 21, 2007, page 3.
25 Ibid, page 4.
26 Bill Analysis H.B. 274, Michael J. O’Neill, Legislative Service Commission, State of Conditions for suspension, page 11. http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/analyses124/h0274-i.pdf