Attorney General announces First Quarter 2012 CHL statistics; New record set for first quarter applications

by Jim Irvine

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the first quarter of 2012. Building on the record setting fourth quarter of 2011, the first quarter of 2012 saw Ohio sheriffs issue 16,823 new licenses, a new record for the first quarter initial licenses issued. The two quarters combined for the highest two quarter combination since the first two quarters of 2009, which followed Governor Strickland's signing of Castle Doctrine and enormous improvements of Ohio gun laws and the election of Barack Obama.

This period's 27% increase over the prior year is the second quarter with double digit increases. This directly follows SB17 taking effect. Governor Kasich signed the important legislation improving restaurant and car carry rules last year. As we have seen many times in Ohio, when the law is improved, the demand for training and licenses increases.

At the end of the March, we set another all-time record of approximately 282,907 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 16,823 new CHLs, 45 temporary emergency licenses (TELs) issued and 1,300 licenses renewed in the January through March time frame.

Because of a change from a four to a five year license, only a few CHLs expired during the quarter. Many of the 1,300 CHLs renews, were either early or expired licenses. Licenses issued in the second quarter of 2007 expire in the current quarter. We will see another increase in expiring and renewed licenses in the next report. Over 70% of all licenses issued have been renewed.

There were 45 temporary emergency licenses (TEL) issued in the quarter, also a new record. TELs are only valid for 90 days and cannot be renewed. TELs are issued to persons who need to carry a firearm for protection, but don't have time to obtain the required training. Applicants must apply with their sheriff, pay a fee and pass a background check. The 90 days allows them time to obtain training and apply for a regular license. After issuance, a person must wait four years before they qualify for another TEL.

Only 54 licenses were revoked during the quarter. That is lower than the same period in 2011 and about average for the past two years. The number of license holders has increased significantly while the number of revocations remains generally flat is a testament to how well the concealed carry program works.

Less than one-half of one percent of all CHLs have ever been revoked for any reason, including death or moving out of state. Big 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 99.5% 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 first quarter this year over eight people per hour, or 274 per work-day, received a new or renewed CHL from an Ohio sheriff. The popular program is a good facilitator of communication between sheriffs and citizens. 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. Law enforcement and armed citizens are on the same side opposing criminals. Hopefully we are returning to a time when we can work together for the rights of the "good guys."

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 282,000 Ohio citizens licensed to carry handguns, anytime you are in a group of 30 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.

Every time legislation is passed improving the law, they predict mayhem and problems that will result without tight restrictions on gun owners. Every time they are wrong, but newspapers and anti-gun politicians keep listening to their repeated nonsense. 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 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 over the last 20 years. 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 more than 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 - 2012 Q1 Concealed Carry Stats

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense

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