Attorney General announces Third Quarter 2012 CHL statistics; Another record setting quarter for Buckeye State CCW

by Jim Irvine

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the third quarter of 2012. It was the busiest third quarter in the history of Ohio's concealed carry law. The 13,949 regular CHLs surpasses even the previous record of 12,127 issued in 2004, the first year Ohio issues licenses, by 15 percent.

Building on the last three record setting quarters, the third quarter of 2012 saw Ohio sheriffs issue 13,949 regular CHL, 3,447 renewed CHLs and 23 Temporary licenses (TELs). Like last quarter, demand was so strong that it exceeded the demand for the third quarters of 2005, 2006, and 2007 combined. The first nine months of 2012 are setting a record pace for CHL licenses, already exceeding many entire year totals when our laws were worse. We continue to be 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 John 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. Since the re-election of President Obama, the fear of his enacting draconian gun control measures has returned and clearly helps drive gun sales. We are likely to see continued urgency for anyone considering buying a gun or obtaining a CHL.

This period's 39% increase over the prior year completes a year in which every quarter has double digit increases over the prior years’ quarter. 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 September, we set another all-time record of approximately 313,718 Ohio residents licensed to carry concealed firearms. The total number of persons with Ohio concealed handgun licenses continues to climb above the quarter of a million mark set a year ago and has ensured that even if no person obtains or renews a CHL for the entire 4th quarter, we will still end a year with over 300,000 CHL’s for first time in Ohio's history. (See chart)

There were 13,949 new CHLs, 23 temporary emergency licenses (TELs) issued and 3,447 licenses renewed in the July through September time frame.

Because of a change from a four to a five year license in 2007, the past year has seen very low renewal numbers. 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 23 TELs issued in the quarter, about average compared to 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 547 licenses revoked during the quarter. That is unfortunately a new record and ten times the average over the past couple years. Almost all of these are attributable to one team of "instructors" who were issuing training certificates, but did not conduct the required training. Prospective students are reminded that the application contains an affidavit where the student swears that he/she has received the appropriate training. Signing a false affidavit can subject persons to felony prosecutions and a permanent loss of firearms rights. We commend law enforcement for handling this situation promptly and with discretion. We are not aware of any problems or other violations involving the 600 individuals who obtained CHLs without the 12 hours of mandated training.

Less than six tenths 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% of law-abiding license holders, many of whom have used their gun to protect life.

Concealed carry works.

During the third quarter this year over 7.5 people per hour, or 254 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.

We have several newly elected sheriffs. We encourage you to talk with your sheriff 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 313,000 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 current example is HB495. They have been wrong every time, but some 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 do 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, and recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 "Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award" and the CCRKBA's 2012 "Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award."

Further Information:
Ohio Attorney General - 2012 Q3 Concealed Carry Stats

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense

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