Attorney General announces Third Quarter 2011 CHL statistics; Ohio Concealed Carry number tops quarter million

by Jim Irvine

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the third quarter of 2011. At the end of September, we set another all-time record of approximately 253,113 Ohio residents licensed to carry concealed firearms. The total of persons with Ohio concealed handgun licenses has topped the quarter of a million mark for the first time. (See chart)

There were 10,062 new CHLs, 16 temporary emergency licenses (TELs) issued and 280 licenses renewed in the July through September period this year.

As noted last quarter, we are seeing a drop in raw renewal numbers because we have transitioned from the licenses that were valid for a period of four years to the ones that are valid for five years. There were actually no regular licenses that expired during the third quarter. All 280 renewals were licenses that had expired in previous quarters, but had not yet been renewed. The bottom line is that total renewal rates increased, rather than decreased. Raw renewal numbers will remain very low for the next couple quarters because no more regular licenses will expire until March of 2012. TELs are only valid for 90 days and cannot be renewed.

Only 43 licenses were revoked. Less than one-half of one percent of all CHLs have ever been revoked for any reason, including death or moving out of state. The media loves to make a big deal about the exceptional cases where a CHL breaks the law, but say almost nothing about the more than 99% of law-abiding license holders, many of whom have used their gun to protect life.

Concealed carry works.

The third quarter is typically the slowest for license issuance. 2011 follows that trend, but still saw a three percent increase in the number of new licenses issued when compared to the same quarter the prior year. 2011 license issuance remains ahead of 2010. There has been a 20% increase in license holders over the past year.

During the third quarter of this year over five people per hour, or 150 per work-day, received a new or renewed CHL from an Ohio sheriff. With such a popular program for their constituents, it is puzzling that the Buckeye State Sheriff's Association (BSSA) was opposed to the restaurant carry reform bill, (SB17) that became effective in September of 2011. All 88 Ohio Sheriffs face election in 2012.

We encourage you to talk with your elected sheriff, and their opponent if they have one, as to their support for our continued efforts to update Ohio's concealed carry laws to make them more friendly to citizens. We welcome your feedback if you are able to learn why your sheriff opposed you having similar protection for your family in restaurants that his deputies enjoy. It seems many of them have forgotten that they work for you. If they support your rights, ask them what they are doing to change the official position of their association.

License-holders, like gun owners in general, are not extremists as the anti-gun crowd claims. They are honorable citizens who want the means of protection from real dangers. They understand that police cannot, and are not obligated to, protect individual citizens from 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 also carry a gun to protect themselves from a criminal attack.

With over 253,000 Ohio citizens licensed to carry handguns, anytime you are in a group of four dozen adults, odds are there is at least one licensee present. 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 in Ohio where there will not be a license-holder nearby. 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 to 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 predictions of "blood in the streets" have never materialized. A record number of Ohioans are carrying guns in more places and even though there continues to be significant economic problems, we have not seen any dramatic increase in violent crime. Meanwhile, new reports indicate that new gun sales continue to be strong. This is yet another indication that more guns in the hands of good citizens does not cause any increase in crime, and is likely to deter criminals. Yet today we hear the same tired cries about our continued efforts to "de-Taft" our concealed carry laws. The same rantings are as wrong today as they were eight years ago. While no large group of people is perfect, the CHL-holder has proven to be considerably more law-abiding than the population at large.

It always takes time for the feelings of society to have a real change and adopt new safety ideas. It was once normal for kids to ride in cars without seat belts or even car seats. Today such behavior is considered criminally reckless. We rode bikes with no helmets. CPR was 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 licenses, the day seems to be a little closer at hand when carrying a gun for safety will be seen as being as sensible as wearing seat belts.

It has been over seven years since Ohio's concealed carry law took effect. 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.

Further Information:
Ohio Attorney General - 2011 Q3 Concealed Carry Stats

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense

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