2009 Attorney General Summary on Concealed Carry: Another record year for Ohio concealed handgun licenses

Demand continues to soar 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 fourth quarter of 2009 and the year-end report, Ohio Concealed Handguns Law - 2009 Annual Report. There were 10,687 concealed handgun licenses (CHL's) issued for the period of October through December 2009, falling just one short of the record set for the same quarter the year before. For the year, new records were set for initial licenses issued, temporary emergency licenses and total licenses issued.

The fourth quarter has generally been a good quarter for licenses issued, and 2009 was no exception. The demand for licenses to carry concealed handguns remained strong through the entire year. During the final quarter, Ohio sheriffs issued 10,687 CHL's, 15 temporary emergency licenses (TEL's) and processed another 3,112 renewals.

The waning months of 2008 were stronger than anyone expected. The 10,688 regular licenses issued was an unprecedented 111% increase over the same period a year earlier. The fact that we have matched that same total a year later is a clear indication that the surge in gun ownership is not some temporary anomaly. Gun owners and concealed carry license holders are growing in numbers and becoming more active.

When a state passes a "shall issue" law, it is normal to see an initial surge, then a steady decline over the first three years. Ohio had this exact pattern. The anti-gun groups claimed the number of licenses were too small to matter. The obvious goal was to convince the legislature to ignore us. But then something interesting happened. The legislature over-rode then-Governor Taft's veto of a good concealed carry bill. With those improvements came increased demand for the licenses.

As with any product, the better the product, the more in demand it becomes. CHL's are no different. It seemed obvious that the biggest reason that numbers were "low" was the terrible provisions included in the initial law at the behest of an anti-gun governor and anti-gun zealots who know nothing about guns or what laws make sense regarding them.

For the past three years, Ohio has seen a steady increase in the number of licenses issued. Governor Strickland signed enormous improvements to concealed carry rules into law in his first session. Those improvements brought renewed interest in CHL's. Make the product better, and more people will want it.

For the year 2009, there were 56,691 regular licenses issued, shattering the old record of 45,497 in 2004, the first year that CHL's were issued. There were an additional 16,443 licenses renewed during the year for a total of 73,134 CHL's handed out during the year. Even accounting for the fact that 2004 was only a partial year, 2009 still outpaced the first year's demand by a large margin.

There were 77 temporary emergency licenses (TEL's) issued for the year, another record. TEL's are only valid for 90 days and can not be renewed for a period of four years. The purpose for the TEL is to allow a person needing the immediate ability to carry a gun for self-defense a way to legally do so without any training. The 90 days gives them time to acquire training, apply for and be issued a regular CHL.

Over 70% of expiring licenses have been renewed. This is obviously a program that people appreciate. Once carrying a gun becomes part of a normal routine, leaving your protection behind leaves you feeling naked and unprotected. Buckeye Firearms Association is proud to have worked to reduce the renewal fee to $50 last year.

Counting issued, renewed, and TEL's, Ohio sheriffs handed out 73,211 licenses, shattering the previous record of 65,256 set in 2008. That equates to a rate of almost 300 licenses issued every business day over the course of the year. At year-end there were approximately 178,240 Ohioans licensed to carry concealed, and millions of out-of-state residents who may carry here on other state-issued licenses. People who carry concealed weapons are not some small fringe group. We are main-stream and growing.

In his press release announcing the report, Cordray remarked that "if there's something to take away from these numbers, it is that more and more Ohioans are comfortable exercising the right to carry concealed handguns. We are pleased that we have a strong partnership with the county sheriffs who issue concealed handgun licenses, and we will continue to work together to help eligible Ohioans take advantage of this law."

Most sheriffs are doing an excellent job administering the CHL program. Thank your sheriff for doing a good job, or let us know about problems you have. Remember that you have the option to go to any adjoining county for your CHL.

Even with the surge in total outstanding licenses, the number of suspensions and revocations remains minute compared to other state-issued licenses. Less than one half of one percent have ever been revoked, and among that small number are many CHL’s revoked because a license-holder died, decided not to renew or moved out of state.

It always takes a while for the feelings of society to come to have a real change of 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 now saved annually because our society realized how quickly a life could be lost, and how being prepared can make the difference between life and death. With the surging numbers of gun owners and concealed carry licensees, maybe the day is coming when carrying a gun for your safety is as "common sense" as using a seat belt in the car.

We have enjoyed concealed carry for almost six years in Ohio. It is clearly working well and is popular with responsible, law-abiding adults who care about safety. Now if we can just convince the legislature to remove the remaining burdensome restrictions and eliminate most of the "victim zones" we might just set another record this year. This is an election year, so make your wishes known to any legislator's campaign you work on.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman.

Further Information:
Ohio Concealed Handguns Law - 2009 Annual Report

Concealed Carry Licensure Report - 4th Quarter 2009

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense


Media Coverage:

Akron Beacon-Journal - Heat is on for Ohio gun permits

Since the law went into effect, more than 200,000 regular and emergency concealed-carry licenses have been issued in Ohio.

Summit County Sheriff Drew Alexander, who voiced concern about increased gun use when the law took effect in 2004, said his fears have not been realized.

In addition, he said crime has neither increased nor decreased in the past six years.

"We haven't seen any problems with it," Alexander said. "And we kind of thought we would in the beginning. If you remember, I was even quoted as saying I was worried about road rage."

...[Portage County Sheriff David Doak] agreed with Alexander that the law has not affected crime.

"I just think it could be a sign of the times," he said. "Also, when that bill first came out, people were very skeptical about where you could carry and so forth.

"And once that was in effect a couple years, we started to notice an increase. They relaxed the laws on it a little bit, and that could also have something to do with it."

Associated Press - Ohio hits record for concealed handgun licenses

Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, says he thinks more people are concerned that President Barack Obama is going to do something to limit gun ownership.

Cincinnati Enquirer - Concealed-carry permits at record high

Clermont County, the state's 11th most populous county, historically hits high numbers for new permits.

That's because a streamlined application process makes it a popular place for out-of-county residents to obtain permits, Sheriff A.J. "Tim" Rodenberg said. About half of applicants come from adjacent counties, he said.

Rodenberg thinks the statewide boost has more to do with political and economic climates.

...With some crimes on the rise and cutbacks in police resources everywhere, Rodenberg thinks people who normally wouldn't are now arming themselves to feel safe.

"For patrol and responding to calls, the time lag is increasing almost everywhere," he said. "People, in order to have a sense of security about them, feel that ... (a gun) is almost a necessity to protect myself and my family."

Cleveland Plain Dealer - Ohio concealed gun licenses shoot way up in 2009; firearms supporters and opponents cite President Obama as reason

"I think President Obama being anti-gun and the fear that he was going to do something to affect gun ownership, I think drives a lot of these numbers," said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

...The Obama effect becomes clear when the Ohio figures are given a closer look.

In the first six months of 2009, around the time and soon after Obama took office, Ohio issued 34,244 permits. That was 380 more licenses than the state issued for all of 2008.

And in 2008, nearly one-third of concealed carry licenses issued were handed out during the fourth-quarter of that year, around the time Obama was elected.

"That makes the argument for the President Obama fear factor," Irvine said.

...And Irvine said Ohio's gun laws over the past couple years have received some tweaks and changes that makes the rules for carrying clearer.

For example, in 2006, Ohio lawmakers passed legislation allowing licensed gun owners to carry guns hidden in their vehicles when driving which eliminated a complicated "plain sight" rule.

Dayton Daily News - Record number of Ohioans get gun permits

Chad Baus, spokesman for Buckeye Firearms Association, attributes the upswing to two factors: modifications in the concealed carry law that took effect in 2007, making it easier to carry weapons more places, and the election of Barack Obama.

"He is probably the most anti-gun president we've ever had," said Baus, who hears this concern from students in his CCW classes.
Baus said the CCW law is a success.

"I think the jury is in, the verdict is in. This has been something that people can protect themselves with,” he said. "We haven't had the blood in the streets, fender-bender shootings that some predicted."

Delaware Gazette - Demand up for concealed carry

In his own way, Barack Obama is an excellent gun salesman.

That's what Robin Salvo said in so many words when asked why the number of people who came to Delaware County to get concealed carry weapons (CCW) permits nearly doubled last year.

According to data released earlier this month by the Ohio Attorney General's Office, 1,112 CCW permits were issued in Delaware County last year. That compares to 571 the year before.

Salvo works at Black Wing Shooting Center in Scioto Township as a firearms instructor and said Obama's first year in the presidential office was "definitely a factor" in the increased interest in guns.

"People were afraid they weren't going to be able to have their guns for whatever reason," Salvo said, referencing the perception that Obama and his fellow Democrats in Congress would initiate more gun-control legislation.

"They were afraid of what would happen to our rights," said Salvo, who considers herself a passionate gun rights activist.

Salvo said some people have also told her they were concerned crime was going up as the economy faltered, and they wanted to be able to better protect themselves and their families.

The (University of Toledo) Independent Collegian - Number of concealed carry licenses increases in Ohio

According to the Buckeye Firearms Association Web site, President Barack Obama is a main contributor to restrictions against the Second Amendment, which protects U.S. citizens' right to bear firearms, and Obama has a long history of fighting against gun rights and is "possibly the most anti-gun president ever elected."

According to the BFA Web site, some members of the firearm association believe many citizens are rushing to get these licenses before Obama outlaws them altogether.

Ohio News Network (ONN) - Concealed Carry Licenses At All-Time High

Last year a record 56,691 concealed weapons permits were issued in Ohio. The previous high was 45,497 in 2004. Ohioans now carry nearly 200,000 concealed handguns.

Experts say they know why.

"I mean Eric Holder as Attorney General. Rahm Emanuel Chief of Staff. This is the all-star dream team for the anti-gun force being put in place," according to Ken Hanson from the Buckeye Firearms Association.

Hanson said President Obama's election, and cabinet picks, sparked massive gun sales early last year.

"You couldn't order guns in for four or five months after the election," Hanson said. "Just because the demand went through the roof."

While gun owners feared Obama would confiscate their weapons, Hanson said that has not been the reality.

"The National Parks bill is a great example of that. Bush had eight years to deal with that, and didn't even start looking at it until the last six months of his administration. Here we have the first six months of an Obama administration, and he signs a bill," said Hanson.

Toledo Blade - New permits in Ohio reached record last year

Five years after it became legal for Ohioans to carry concealed firearms, more people lined up for permits than in any year since the law took effect.

...Last weekend, workers at two South Toledo stores shot two suspected robbers, one fatally, after, police say, they brandished guns inside the businesses. Last month, a Toledo man who came home to find three suspected burglars inside his house fatally shot one of the intruders and injured another.

"I don't ever feel good that someone has to die. I don't ever feel good that someone got shot," said Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, a gun-rights advocacy group. "I've talked to many people who have gone through this. None of them are happy or cavalier about it. It's not something anyone ever wants to go through."

...As for concealed-carry permits, Mr. Irvine said he believes people are coming to view them as safety tools that can save lives much like seat belts or smoke alarms, and they hope they'll never be in a situation where they need them.

Wooster Daily-Record - Concealed Carry numbers up in Wayne, Holmes

More and more Ohioans became certified to carry a weapon in 2009.

..."People who carry concealed weapons are not some small fringe group," Jim Irvine, chairman of Buckeye Firearms Association said in the release. "We are becoming more mainstream every day."

...Despite a large increase in CCW holders, [Wayne Co. Sheriff's office Capt. Doug] Hunter said that presence does not concern law enforcement officers, as permit-seekers "are showing they are law-abiding citizens. In many cases they remain law-abiding citizens."

"Our concern is not the person that is licensed to conceal, our concern is the person carrying a concealed gun that does not have a license," he said.

WTAM 1100 AM (Cleveland) - Concealed carry permits soar

Some blame high unemployment for the rise. "As the economy goes down crime goes up and people are arming themselves for the first time," claims Linda Walker, central Ohio chair of the Buckeye Firearms Association. "People are scared and we definitely have a different government than we have 10-to-20 years ago."

WTOL (CBS Toledo) - Number of Ohioans signing up for gun permits on the rise

WTVN 610 AM (Columbus)- Concealed handgun licenses set record in 2009

The number of concealed handgun licenses issued in Ohio surged to a new high in 2009.

...Gun advocates say politics and the recession get the credit.

"As the economy goes down crime goes up and people are arming themselves for the first time," said Linda Walker, central Ohio chair of the Buckeye Firearms Association. "People are scared and we definitely have a different government than we have 10-20 years ago."

WYTV (ABC Youngstown) - Conceal Carry Law Arms More Ohioans

The concealed handgun law has only been on the books in the Buckeye State since 2004, but more and more Ohioans are taking the necessary steps to exercise their right to arm and protect themselves and their families.

..."Sales of guns were through the roof last year," said Rick Kaleda, Mahoning County chairperson for the Buckeye Firearms Association. "And responsible citizens being responsible are going to want to take the next logical step and get the training and licenses and everything that they need to be safe."

...More gun licenses were awarded in Columbiana and Trumbull Counties than Mahoning. Kaleda says Mahoning County makes the whole process more difficult. "Mahoning County is the only county in the state that requires that a citizen prove they've been a resident by providing documentation that they've been a resident of Ohio for five years."

...NRA certified instructors such as Miller and Kaleda teach a state approved 12-hour concealed carry class. It's 10 hours in the classroom and two on the shooting range. But the class doesn't guarantee you a gun license. It just means you can apply for one, and begin the necessary background check with your county sheriff's office.

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