Attorney General announces Fourth Quarter 2011 CHL statistics; Record-setting quarter caps second-best year ever

by Jim Irvine

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the fourth quarter of 2011. Ohio sheriffs set a new record issuing almost 12,000 CHLs for the busiest fourth quarter in the program's eight year history. Demand was up 12% compared to the same period a year earlier. At the end of the year, we set another all-time record of approximately 265,083 Ohio residents licensed to carry concealed firearms. The total of persons with Ohio concealed handgun licenses continues to climb above the quarter of a million mark set in the third quarter of last year and will likely approach 300,000 by the end of this year. (See chart)

There were 11,965 new CHLs, 18 temporary emergency licenses (TELs) issued and 239 licenses renewed in the October through December period last year. SB17 was signed into law by Governor Kasich and became law on September 30 of last year. Significant changes were made by allowing license holders to carry firearms in their cars under similar rules as other states and to allow license holders to carry in restaurants that serve alcohol, provided the license holder is not consuming or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Making the law work better for the law-abiding citizens who carry guns for self-defense increases demand for the license.

As previously noted, 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 fourth quarter. All 239 renewals were licenses that had expired in previous quarters, but had not yet been renewed. Over 70% of all licenses issued have been renewed. The bottom line is that total renewal rates increased, rather than decreased. Raw renewal numbers will remain very low next quarter because no more regular licenses will expire until March of 2012. TELs are only valid for 90 days and cannot be renewed.

Only 33 licenses were revoked during the quarter, the lowest number we have seen in over four (4) years. The last time the revocation number was this low was the first quarter of 2007 when only 32 licenses were revoked. We have three times as many license holders today compared to 2007. Is it possible that changes made in SB17, making it easier to understand and comply with the laws for carrying firearms in restaurants and cars, led to the reduction? It will take time to see if the lower revocation numbers are an anomaly or a trend. 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 establishment 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.

There were 49,825 regular CHLs issued last year, a 5% increase compared to 2010. 2011 was the second busiest year in history. The busiest year was 2009 when 56,691 CHLs were issued. There are 22% more people licensed to carry handguns in Ohio at the end of 2011 than there were at the end of 2010.

During the fourth quarter last year over five people per hour, or 184 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. If they support your rights, and if they are a member of the BSSA, ask them what they are doing to change the official position of their association. We welcome your feedback if you are able to learn why the BSSA opposed your having similar protection for your family in restaurants that sheriff's deputies enjoy. It seems many sheriffs have forgotten that they work for you.

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 seat belt to protect themselves in a car accident. They also carry a gun to protect themselves from a criminal attack.

With over 265,000 Ohio citizens licensed to carry handguns, anytime you are in a group of 32 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, reports indicate that new gun sales continue to be strong. This is yet another indication that more guns in the hands of good citizens do not cause any increase in crime, and are 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 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 when carrying a gun for safety will be seen as being as sensible as wearing seat belts.

It has been almost eight 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 Q4 Concealed Carry Stats

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense

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