Attorney General announces Second Quarter 2012 CHL statistics; Ohio tops 300,000 concealed carry license holders
by Jim Irvine
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the second quarter of 2012. For the first time ever, Ohio has officially topped 300,000 concealed handgun license holders.
Building on the last two record setting quarters, the second quarter of 2012 saw Ohio sheriffs issue 18,199 new licenses, the highest of any second quarter since the initial surge in 2004. Demand was so strong that it exceeded the demand for the second quarter of 2005, 2006, and 2007 combined. The first six months of 2012 are setting a record pace for CHL licenses, already exceeding many entire year totals when our laws were worse. We are on pace to break the 2009 record of 56,691 new licenses issued. That record year immediately followed Governor Strickland's signing of Castle Doctrine and enormous improvements of Ohio gun laws and the election of President Barack Obama.
It is always difficult to assign specific reasons for behavior, but there is no denying that we have seen strong demand for CHLs since Governor Kasich signed SB17 (Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix) and HB54 (Restoration of Rights) legislation into law. Better laws create more demand. HB495 (Reciprocity & Concealed Carry Modernization) should be the next improvement on our laws which will likewise lessen burdens on good people who want to carry a gun for self-defense. The fear of President Obama being re-elected and the draconian gun control measures we are likely to see probably also add an urgency to anyone considering buying a gun or obtaining a CHL.
This period's 25% increase over the prior year is the third straight 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 June, we set another all-time record of approximately 301,692 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 has officially topped the 300,000 number for the first time in Ohio's history. (See chart)
Because of a change from a four to a five year license in 2007, the past year has seen very low renewal numbers from either early or late renewals. Approximately 6,866 licenses expired during the quarter and we are now having licenses expire on a daily basis and thus renewal numbers are increasing again. Over 70% of all licenses issued have been renewed.
There were 8 temporary emergency licenses (TEL) issued in the quarter, down from the prior quarters. 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.
There were 68 licenses revoked during the quarter. That is lower than the same period in 2011 but higher than the past few reporting periods. 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.
During the second quarter this year almost 10 people per hour, or 334 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 301,000 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. The latest example is HB495. 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.
Ohio Attorney General - 2012 Q2 Concealed Carry Stats