2008 Attorney General Summary on Concealed Carry: Record year for Ohio concealed handgun licenses
By Jim Irvine
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray (D) has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the fourth quarter of 2008 and the year-end report, Ohio Concealed Handgun Law - 2008 Annual Report. Just as we have seen a spike in demand for guns, we see a strong surge in concealed carry applications from people who want to carry a concealed weapon (CCW).
The fourth quarter has generally been a good quarter for licenses issued, but demand in the waning months of 2008 was stronger than anyone expected. The 10,668 regular licenses issued was an unprecedented 111% increase over the same period a year earlier. There were more licenses issued in the last three months of 2008 than the last quarter of 2006 and 2007 combined. It is also the highest demand for new licenses since the 3rd quarter of 2004, the first full quarter the CCW law was in effect.
Additionally, approximately 78% of expiring CHLs (5,476) were renewed in the fourth quarter. That means 265 people received a new license to carry a firearm every working day. New licenses averaged over 175 every business day – stronger demand than any quarter in the last 4 years!
In 2008, there were 33,864 regular licenses issued. That is a whopping 53% increase over last year, which was sharply up from the year prior. Issuances of Temporary Emergency Licenses (TELs) also doubled for the quarter, bringing the year to date total to 73 TELs issued. Adding in the renewals, Ohio's sheriffs issued 65,256 licenses to carry concealed handguns last year.
That number not only sets a new record, it shatters the old record of 45,562 licenses issued with a greater than 43 percent increase. While the prior record was only a partial year, it was also the first year the law was in effect. Typically the first year is the busiest time ever for issuances of concealed carry permits or licenses, due to the initial surge after a state passes the self-defense law. But there were even more licenses handed out per day last year in Ohio than the first year the concealed carry program was in effect. We salute our 88 county sheriffs, who are doing a great job keeping up with the unprecedented demand.
In the first year of Ohio's concealed carry law, the anti-self-defense people bragged about the small demand for the new CHLs. They claimed that only a few fringe gun nuts wanted carry hidden guns. It is now clear that as the oppressive restrictions they were able to insert into the bill with the help of Governor Taft are removed, more and more people want to carry a firearm for personal protection.
Their cries of "blood in the streets" have never materialized. As a record number of Ohioans started carrying guns last year, Ohio's crime rates dropped. The pile of evidence grows even higher affirming the title of John Lott's book from a decade ago. More guns, less crime.
Even with the surge in total outstanding licenses, the number of suspensions and revocations has declined slightly, a possible indication of the success of Senate Bill 184, signed into law last year by Governor Strickland, which eliminated many legal traps that had been ensnaring otherwise law-abiding people. Less than one half of one percent have ever been revoked, and among that small number are many CHLs revoked because a license-holder died or moved out of state.
It always takes a while for the feelings of society to come to have a real change in heart and adopt new safety ideas. It was once normal for kids to ride in cars with no seat belts or car seats. We rode bikes with no helmets. CPR was to be left to "the professionals." Thousands of lives are saved annually because our society realized how quickly a life could be lost, and how a few simple changes make the difference between life and death. With the surging numbers of gun owners and concealed carry permits and licenses, maybe the day when carrying a gun for your safety is as accepted as using a seat belt is closer than the "mainstream" media would lead you to believe.
As we approach the five year anniversary of Ohio's concealed carry law, it is clear that it is working well and is popular with responsible, law-abiding adults who care about safety.
Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, and the host of Firearms Forum, Ohio's first talk radio show about guns and gun rights.
Ohio Concealed Handguns Law - 2008 Annual Report