Attorney General announces First Quarter 2009 CHL statistics

Demand is soaring for concealed carry licenses in Ohio

By Jim Irvine

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray (D) has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the first quarter of 2009. The demand for concealed carry licenses has been torrid. It appears that a lot of new gun owners are not content to leave their weapon locked up at home; they want to carry it for self defense.

The first quarter in 2009 continued the trend of increasing demand at an increasing rate. The 16,323 regular licenses issues was a whopping 139% increase over the same period a year earlier and was the second quarter in a row that demand more than doubled compared with the prior year. There were an additional 4,906 licenses renewed during the quarter, which is approximately 75% of the licenses expiring during the period. Add in another 41 Temporary Emergency Licenses (TELs), and Ohio Sheriffs issued a whopping 21,248 licenses in the first three months of 2009. That is more licenses than were issued for the entire year in 2006!

Demand for licenses is nearing the record set during the initial surge of applications when Ohio's concealed carry law took effect in 2004, and 2009 is on pace to become the busiest year ever for licenses issued. Over 326 people per work-day picked up a CHL. (And many sheriffs' offices only process applications three days per week.)

The strong demand marks eight consecutive quarters that licenses issued increased compared to the prior year. License-holders, like gun owners in general, are not extremists as the anti-gun crowd claims. They are honorable citizens who want protection from real dangers. They understand that police cannot protect them from a rape or murder any more than they can prevent someone from running a red light. Responsible people wear a seatbelt to protect themselves in a car accident. They carry a gun to protect themselves from a criminal attack.

It is estimated that there are now over 142,000 Ohio citizens licensed to carry handguns. Anytime you are in a group of five dozen adults, odds are there is one with you. If you are with an older or more affluent group, the odds are even greater. In short, there are few public locations you can travel where there will not be a license-holder near. Unfortunately, because of the many places license-holders are still prohibited from carrying their guns, the license does not necessarily translate into having someone ready and armed to stop an attack.

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 those who seek to deny others the right of self-defense are themselves the radical minority.

Their cries of "blood in the streets" have never materialized. A record number of Ohioans are carrying guns. While no large group of people are perfect, the CHL-holder has proven to be considerably more law-abiding than the population at large.

With the surge in total outstanding licenses, the percentage 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, the day when carrying a gun for safety is as accepted as using a seat belt may be close at hand.

As we move into the sixth year of Ohio's concealed carry law, it is clear that the law 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.

Further Information:
2008 Attorney General Summary on Concealed Carry: Record year for Ohio concealed handgun licenses

Ohio Concealed Handguns Law - 2008 Annual Report

Concealed Carry Licensure Report - 4th Quarter 2008

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense


Media Coverage:

Chillicothe Gazette - Concealed weapon licenses on the rise

The Buckeye Firearms Association indicated the 139 percent increase in licenses issued compared to the same period in 2008 and the fact that already more licenses have been issued than were approved in all of 2006 shows gun owners are sending a message that they will defend themselves if necessary from crime.

"License holders, like gun owners in general, are not the extremists the anti-gun crowd tries to paint," said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, in a written statement to the Gazette. "They are honorable citizens who want protection from real dangers. They understand that police are not there to protect them from a rape or murder any more than they can prevent someone from running a red light.

"Responsible people wear a seat belt to protect themselves in a car accident, and they carry a gun to protect them from a criminal attack."

Columbus Dispatch - Concealed-carry permit applications jumped first quarter of year

County sheriff's offices issued 16,323 licenses in the first quarter of the year, a 139 percent increase over the same period a year ago, according to statistics released this month by the Ohio attorney general's office.

It was the second straight quarter in which the number of licenses issued more than doubled from the previous year, said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, a pro-gun lobbying group.

The two quarters include the period of Barack Obama's election and inauguration and mirrored an increase in sales of guns and ammunition reported across the nation.

If the pace set in the first quarter continues, 2009 will be the busiest year for concealed-carry licenses in Ohio since they became available in 2004.

"It's a combination of fears about the economy causing an increase in crime, and fears that the Obama administration is going to put huge new restrictions on getting firearms or carrying them," Irvine said.

...Regardless of the reason for the increase in concealed-carry licenses, Buckeye Firearms' Irvine is encouraged by the development.

"Gun ownership and concealed carry are becoming a more mainstream idea," he said. "It is considered a responsible thing to defend yourself or your family from a criminal attack."

Lima News - Editorial: Concealed carry without problems

Jim Irvine, chairman of the pro-gun group Buckeye Firearms Association, attributed the pace of people seeking gun permits to fears about crime in this weak economy and fear that the Obama administration might strengthen gun control laws.

..."The strong demand marks the eight consecutive quarters that licenses issued increased compared to the prior year," Irvine wrote in a column released last week. "License-holders, like gun owners in general, are not the extremists the anti-gun crowd tries to paint. They are honorable citizens who want protection from real dangers. They understand that police are not there to protect them from a rape or murder any more than they can prevent someone from running a red light. Responsible people wear a seat belt to protect themselves in a car accident, and they carry a gun to protect them from a criminal attack."

Newark Advocate - More Ohioans arming themselves, seeking licenses to carry concealed

When someone wants to acquire a CCL, which allows citizens to tote handguns in public, they must complete a 12-hour training course with a certified instructor like Linda Walker.

"We went from teaching one class a month with 10 or 12 students to two or three classes per month, cutting it off at the first 20 paid (customers)," said Walker, who is a certified instructor at her training school, On The Defense.

What changed, Walker said, was the election of a president that she says the gun-rights community fears will roll back advancements they've made in state and federal regulations.

Obama's victory in the November elections was a gut shot to gun owners everywhere who have been fighting for expanded rights, said Walker, who also is the central Ohio chairwoman of the political action committee Buckeye Firearms Association.

"It doesn't have to do with Obama being a Democratic president," she said. "It has to do with Obama's views on the Second Amendment."

...The people in Walker's classroom and Richardson's office are not from any one demographic, both said. People range from novices to enthusiasts, Walker said.

She estimated about one-third of her graduates are women. Walker has taught people from age 21 -- the minimum age requirement -- all the way up to age 88.

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