Attorney General announces Third Quarter 2009 CHL statistics

2009 already busiest year ever for concealed carry licenses

By Jim Irvine

Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray (D) has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the third quarter of 2009. The demand for licenses to conceal carry firearms remained strong last quarter, marking an unprecedented ten quarters in a row with an increased demand compared to the same year over year period. Concealed carry continues to be something both long-time and new gun owners are interested in. If you buy a handgun for self defense, it makes sense to get the license needed to carry it with you.

The third quarter in 2009 saw a whopping 54% increase over the same period in 2008. In terms of original issued licenses issued in the quarter, it trailed only 2004 which was the first year, and only the second quarter of Ohio's concealed carry law. The 11,760 licensed issued amounted to only a 3% decline from the initial surge that first year. Taking into account the 3,600 licenses renewed during the quarter there were a total of 15,360 licenses issued – or a 27% increase over the same period in 2004. As has been previously noted, it is highly unusual that demand in later years exceeds the initial surge, but improvements to a bad law and fear of the Obama administration coupled with a poor economy explain the ongoing trend.

The 3,600 licenses renewed during the period was a decline from prior quarters, but that is simply a reflection of a lower demand for initial licenses four years ago. The 3,600 renewals was a record 80% of those expiring during the period. It is too soon to tell if the renewal this is an anomaly or a new normal effected by the lower renewal fee that became effective October 17, 2009 as a result of HB1. Either way there is now a record 169,000 Ohio citizens licensed to carry a concealed handgun. (See chart)

To date over 70% of all expiring CHLs have been renewed. There were 21 Temporary Emergency Licenses (TELs) issued in the third quarter, bringing the total number of licenses issued by Ohio Sheriffs to a whopping 15,381 for the period July through September of 2009.

The 46,004 regular license issued this year is the most Ohio CHLs ever issued in a calendar year, exceeding even the first year surge with the fourth quarter results not yet complete. There were also an additional 13,331 licenses that were renewed and an additional 63 temporary emergency licenses (TELs) bringing the total number of concealed carry licenses issued or renewed this year to a total of 59,397. Simply put, the demand is exceeding every prior year in such dramatic fashion that further comparison becomes silly.

About 240 people picked up a CHL every work-day. (And many sheriffs' offices only process applications three days per week.) That means CHLs are being issued at a rate greater than many of the special license plates that are so common on our roadways. Every person with a brain has figured out that concealed carry is a success, demand is increasing, and even the vast majority of those who don't carry a gun are comfortable knowing that good people all around them are. The statistics are not needed to prove we are right. They are a quantitative measure of just how right we are.

The strong demand marks ten 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 case of a car accident. They carry a gun to protect themselves in case of a criminal attack.

There are currently 169,000 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 a group that is older or more affluent than average, 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. Ft. Hood is the most recent example of the true effect of disarming those trained to carry a gun.

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. The anti-gun groups are working hard to demonize all gun owners based on a few bad apples. To put things in perspective, more Ohio drivers licenses are suspended in a typical two hours than an entire year’s worth of CHL suspensions.

Suspensions and revocations of CHLs remain at very low levels compared to other licenses. 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, moved out of state or other benign reasons.

It always takes time for the feelings of society 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. Today such behavior is criminally reckless. 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 seems to be a little closer at hand.

We are now in 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.

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

Ohio Attorney General - 2009 Q3 Concealed Carry Stats

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense

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