Attorney General announces Fourth Quarter 2010 CHL statistics; Ohio Concealed Carry numbers continue to climb

by Jim Irvine

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the fourth quarter of 2010 and the year-end report, Ohio Concealed Handguns Law - 2010 Annual Report.

There were 10,675 concealed handgun licenses (CHL's) issued for the period of October through December 2010, essentially the same as the fourth quarters in 2008 and 2009. 2008 was the busiest 4th quarter on record with 10,688 new licenses issued. Holding at the same level for three straight years proves demand for CHL's and safety are here to stay.

During the fourth quarter of 2010, over 70% of the approximately 4,200 expiring licenses were renewed. The strong demand for new license pushed the year-end total over 217,000 Ohio citizens licensed to carry concealed handguns. The number of license holders has continued a steady climb since the inception of Ohio's concealed carry law became effective in April 2004. See Graph

Concern caused by the economy, government restrictions, and media reports help persuade people who have been considering getting a license, to spend the time and money to apply for their CHL. In the two years since President Obama has taken office, we have averaged over 13,000 new licensees per quarter. That is more than double the average of 5,800 per quarter in the 4 years before Obama was elected. See graph.

The other key to demand for any product is the quality of the product. For CHLs, the "quality" equates to the rights that come along with the investment of time and money to obtain it. While Ohio's 12 hours of required training is among the most of any state in the country, the rules of Ohio's license are among the most restrictive.

Demand for licenses after SB184 went into effect have been significantly higher than before those changes were made to Ohio law. With former Speaker Budish (D) failing to bring any pro-gun bills to a vote in his chamber, it has now been over two years since the Ohio legislature has passed improvements to Ohio's concealed carry law. With several pro-gun bills getting multiple hearings, Ohio gun owners have reason to be optimistic that we may soon see improvements to key areas of Ohio's gun laws.

For the year 2010, there were 47,337 regular licenses issued, trailing only 2009 when a record number of licenses were issued. There were an additional 13,544 licenses renewed during the year to go along with 68 temporary emergency licenses (TELs) for a total of 60,949 CHL's issued out during the year.

TELs are only valid for 90 days and cannot 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.

Ohio sheriffs issued CHLs a rate of almost 250 per business day over the course of the year. At year-end there were approximately 217,518 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.

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.

"Since 2004, nearly a quarter of a million Ohioans have received a concealed carry license. My office remains committed to working with county sheriffs in helping eligible Ohioans exercise their rights under the Concealed Carry Law," DeWine said in a statement released with his annual report.

Even with the increasing numbers in total outstanding licenses, the number of suspensions and revocations declined slightly in the fourth quarter and 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 common for kids to ride in cars without car seats or seat belts. 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 having functional smoke detectors in your home.

We have enjoyed concealed carry for almost seven years in Ohio. It is clearly working well and is popular with responsible, law-abiding adults who care about safety. It is time for the legislature to lift the restrictions placed on gun owners by those who claimed licensees would endanger the public.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman.

Further Information:
Ohio Concealed Handguns Law - 2010 Annual Report

Concealed Carry Licensure Report - 4th Quarter 2010

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense

Media Coverage:

Bucyrus Telegraph Forum - Last year state issued fewer concealed-carry permits

Chillicothe Gazette - New concealed handgun licenses are down in Ohio

Cleveland Plain Dealer - 2010 Ohio concealed-carry licenses fall short of record in 2009

Rick Kaleda -- Northeast Ohio chairman of Buckeye Firearms -- agreed that the number of licenses follows a predictable pattern. But he said Ohioans with licenses only represent a fraction of the population that supports the rights of others to carry those weapons.

[Toby] Hoover and Kaleda this week said they were more focused on some state lawmakers' push to allow concealed-carry license holders to bring guns into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.

Hoover, who testified before lawmakers Monday, said it will be impossible to tell the good guys from the bad if Ohioans can carry guns in restaurants.

Kaleda -- who trains people to get their concealed-carry license in Youngstown -- disagreed. All but three of the 70 classes he's taught included at least one member of the clergy, he said.

The good guys, Kaleda said, are the people who get the training to carry weapons to take care of the bad guys.

NOTE: Kaleda was misquoted in this article. "I never said 'to take care of the bad guys' Frankly I am not sure I have ever used the term 'bad guys.' I was really hoping she would take something from me explaining I was doing the interview from my office in Pennsylvania where I could carry in any restaurant and have been able to for years. I explained to her that the concept of restraint carry is not new to the country, only new to Ohio. When those opposed to carry in general argued that it would create imaginary problems we pointed to other states who were not having those problems. And now that those (still opposed to carry) point to restauraunt carry as a sure step towards problems, again we point to the states, like the one I work in, and say...there are no problems."

Columbus Dispatch
- Ohio issued large number of concealed-carry permits in 2010
- Fear of Obama sends concealed-carry permits soaring

Dayton Daily News - Concealed carry permits in Ohio on record pace

Fremont News-Messenger - Ohio new concealed-carry permits trend down in '10

Jackson County Times-Journal - More than 60,000 concealed carry licenses issued

Marietta Times - More than 60,000 concealed carry licenses issued

The News-Herald - Nearly one-quarter million Ohioans legally licensed to carry concealed

WFMJ (NBC Youngstown) - More than 60,000 Ohio concealed carry licenses issued in 2010

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