Attorney General announces Third Quarter 2013 CHL statistics; Record demand for CHLs continues

by Jim Irvine

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the third quarter of 2013. Demand continued at a record setting pace, setting new records for the most number of initial licenses issued and most number of licenses renewed during a third quarter. Demand for licenses has been so strong this year that with only nine months' worth of licenses counted, we have already set new records for the most initial licenses issued and most licenses renewed in a year. Every license issued for the rest of the year establishes a new yearly record. It is abundantly clear that despite what President Obama, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and media "surveys" say, Americans don't want more gun control, they want more guns, and the ability to carry them in more places.

Demand for CHLs remained at a blistering pace in the July through September reporting period. Demand was up 34% over the same period last year. Ohio sheriffs issued 18,705 regular CHLs, 13,913 renewals, and nine Temporary Emergency Licenses (TELs), for 32,627 total licenses issued during the quarter.

2012 was a record setting year, with 76,810 CHLs and renewals issued by Ohio sheriffs. In the first nine months, Ohio sheriffs had already issued 82,186 CHLs, renewed 36,225 CHLs and issued another 44 TELs for a grand total of 118,445 licenses issued. That is an amazing increase in demand and there were still three more months to report.

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 (R) signed SB 17 (Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix) and HB 54 (Restoration of Rights) legislation into law. Last December Kasich signed HB 495 (Concealed Carry Modernization), legislation which made the program function even 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 in Newtown, Connecticut, Obama and Bloomberg, along with leaders of the Democrat Party in Washington, have ramped up their extremist anti-gun rhetoric. They were successful in forcing votes on several anti-gun bills/amendments in the U.S. Senate and Secretary of State John Kerry signed a hostile U.N. treaty aimed at destroying our Second Amendment rights. This administration will continue to use every avenue available to suppress, limit and ultimately destroy your rights. Fear of their success helps drive gun and ammunition sales, as well as people getting a CHL. As they continue to keep demanding that law-abiding citizens 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 September, there was an all-time record of approximately 391,816 Ohio residents licensed to carry concealed firearms. (See chart) It took Ohio 14 quarters to top the 100,000 mark. It took another 12 quarters to top the 200,000 mark. It only took 8 more quarters to top the 300,000 mark. We are poised to top the 400,000 mark by the end of the year, which would be only 5 quarters to add another 100,000 CHLs. This is an amazing statistic considering over 65,000 CHLs expire this year.

Almost 14,000 of the approximately 16,700 licenses expiring during the quarter were renewed for a renewal rate of approximately 83% - the highest quarterly renewal rate in Ohio's history. Over 72% of all licenses issued have been renewed. Many sheriffs have added extra manpower to handle the increase in demand, but some are falling way behind in their ability to schedule and issue licenses. Anyone needing to renew should contact their sheriff (or those in adjoining counties) early in case they are asked to wait for months to get an appointment. If you find that a sheriff is not making at least 15 hours per week available to apply for your license, contact Buckeye Firearms Association and we will work with local authorities to make sure your sheriff is in compliance with the law. Judging by the strong numbers, however, most Ohio sheriffs are doing a great job processing CHLs.

There were nine temporary emergency licenses (TELs) to carry a concealed handgun issued in the quarter, the lowest quarterly total in over a year. 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 the record number of CHLs, there were only 70 licenses revoked during the quarter, below the average of the past several years. Prospective CHL 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 one half of one percent of all CHLs have ever been revoked for any reason, including death or moving out of state. About one in four revocations were because the training to obtain the license was deficient. The establishment 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 third quarter this year almost 15 people per hour, or 500 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 about their support for our continued efforts to update Ohio's concealed carry laws to make them friendlier to citizens. Explain which current gun bills you support and get their thoughts on the bills. We welcome your feedback. Law enforcement and armed citizens are on the same side opposing criminals. We seem to be 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 rights 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 391,000 Ohio citizens licensed to carry handguns, anytime you are in a group of 22 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 22 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. HB 231 could make huge improvements in that section of the law.

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. Last year it was HB 495. This year they are focused on HB 203 and "stand your ground" laws. 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 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 have been 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 can be 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 over 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 President, the BFA PAC 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 Q3 Concealed Carry Stats

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense

Media Coverage:
Associated Press - Ohio sees big increase in concealed carry permits this year, more issued than all of last year

Columbus Dispatch - More people getting concealed-carry license than ever before

Gannett News Service - Concealed carry permits top '12 totals

Buckeye Firearms Association has compiled a county-by-county list of firearm instructors on its website. To find one in your area, check www.buckeyefirearms.org/Ohio-CCW-Instructors.

Outdoor Wire - Ohio Concealed Carry Licenses Soar

Scripps Media - Ohio Reports 82,200 new concealed weapons licenses

WSYX (ABC Columbus) - Number of Ohio Concealed Carry Permits Rising Significantly

Youngstown Vindicator - Statistics show increase in concealed-carry permits in Ohio

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