Attorney General announces First Quarter 2013 CHL statistics; Demand for CHL’s skyrocketed in first quarter

by Jim Irvine

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the first quarter of 2013. Almost every record regarding concealed carry was broken last quarter. No matter how you measure it, despite what President Obama and Bloomberg say, Americans don't want more gun control, they want more guns, and the ability to carry them in more places.

Demand for CHLs skyrocketed in the first three months of this year. Demand was up a whopping 87% over the same period last year, which had been the all-time record for a first quarter. Demand even exceeded the initial surge from the very first quarter of the CHL law back in 2004. Ohio sheriffs issued 37,777 CHLs during the quarter, including 31,407 regular CHLs, 6,354 renewals, and 16 Temporary emergency Licenses (TEL’s). Demand was so high that it exceeded the entire yearly totals for 2005, 2006 or 2007.

2012 was a record setting year, with 76,810 CHLs and renewals issued by Ohio sheriffs. We are just shy of the half-way point in only the first three months of 2013. The second quarter is normally the busiest of the year for CHL licensing. If that holds true this year, we will have set a new record for total licenses issued in a year in the next 60 days. That is an amazing increase in demand.

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. In December he signed HB495 (Concealed Carry Modernization) again making the program function better. As we have seen many times in Ohio, when the law is improved, the demand for training and licenses increases.

Since the Sandy Hook killings, President Obama, along with leaders of the Democrat Party in Washington and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have continued their strong anti-gun rhetoric. They were successful in forcing votes on several anti-gun bills/amendments in the U.S. Senate. They seemed convinced that they would succeed, and it's probably safe to assume that many citizens feared they would enact gun control measures. That fear helps drive gun and ammunition sales, as well as people getting a CHL. As they continue to keep demanding that law-abiding citizens must give up their rights, expect to see heavy demand for firearms-related purchases. It seems the record sales in the firearms industry is one section of the economy that President Obama can rightly take credit for. Many gun stores across the country now display his image with the words, "Salesman of the Year."

At the end of the March, there was an all-time record of approximately 351,249 Ohio residents licensed to carry concealed firearms. (See chart) The total number of persons with Ohio concealed handgun licenses continues to climb above the quarter of a million mark set a year and a half ago. Some will say that the huge numbers are because of renewals, and there were over 6,000 renewals in the quarter, but there were over 31,000 new licenses issued. Even without the renewals, that would still have been an all-time record.

Approximately 9,540 licenses expired during the quarter. We are now into the quarter that the first renewals for people who obtained their license in the initial surge will be expiring. Over 70% of all licenses issued have been renewed. Over 22,000 CHLs will expire during the second quarter this year, so sheriffs will continue to be busy. Anyone needing to renew should contact their sheriff early in case they need to wait for months to get an appointment.

There were 16 temporary emergency licenses (TEL) to carry a concealed handgun issued in the quarter, about average compared to prior years. 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.

Even with record number of CHLs, there were only 64 licenses revoked during the quarter, the lowest quarterly number in over a year. 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.

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 love 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.

During the first quarter this year over 17 people per hour, or 575 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. Take time to get to know your sheriff/deputy while obtaining/renewing your CHL. Law enforcement is generally very supportive of citizens' rights to carry firearms for self-defense.

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 friendlier 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 351,000 Ohio citizens licensed to carry handguns, anytime you are in a group of two 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. Any school with 24 employees probably has one person with a CHL who could be authorized to carry a firearm in that school for the protection of the children. 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 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, anti-self-defense pundits predict mayhem and problems that will result without tight restrictions on gun owners. The most recent example is HB495. They have been wrong every time, but some newspapers and anti-gun politicians keep repeating their nonsense. A record number of Ohioans are carrying guns in more places and even through significant economic problems, we did not see 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 nine 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 - 2013 Q1 Concealed Carry Stats

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense

Media Coverage:

Attorney General Mike DeWine issued a press release concerning the "noteworthy" increase in CHL numbers. Media coverage has followed:

Associated Press - Ohio concealed weapons licenses up in early 2013 (versions of this article will appear in hundreds of news outlets around the state and across the country)

Cincinnati Enquirer - EXCLUSIVE: Ohio concealed carry permits nearly doubled in Q1

"Demand for a license is through the roof," said Ken Hanson, legislative director of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

In the first few months of 2013, the association has already taught concealed carry classes to more people than they taught in all of 2012.

"People were thinking after the (presidential) election that if they didn't get (a gun) now, the right might be taken away," Hanson said. "Also in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, leaders started debating banning certain guns."

Cleveland Plain Dealer - Concealed carry permits continue to increase, Ohio Attorney General's Office says

Columbus Dispatch - Concealed-carry permits spike in first three months of this year

Lima News - Concealed carry licenses still hitting records in region

Portsmouth Daily Times - Concealed Carry permits more than double in first quarter

WEWS (ABC Cleveland) - Ohio AG reports spike in concealed carry licenses issued

WXIX (Fox Columbus) - Ohio sees large increase in concealed carry licenses

Zanesville Times-Recorder (and other Central Ohio Gannett-owned newspapers) - Ohio's concealed-carry permits spike

"Demand for a license is through the roof," said Ken Hanson, legislative director of the Buckeye Firearms Association.

In the first few months of 2013, the association has already taught concealed-carry classes to more people than they taught in all of 2012.

"People were thinking after the (presidential) election that, if they didn't get (a gun) now, the right might be taken away," Hanson said. "Also, in the aftermath of Sandy Hook, leaders started debating banning certain guns."

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