Ohio Attorney General Releases Concealed Handgun License Stats for 2018
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) has released the Concealed Handgun License (CHL) statistics for the fourth quarter of 2018 and the annual report. As we note every report: More Ohioans than ever are discreetly carrying firearms as they go about their day.
As in the prior year, there was a decline in new licenses, but strong renewal numbers led to record number of total licenses issued for the year. Despite a record of nearly 145,000 licenses expiring in 2018, there is now a record 667,000 active Ohio CHLs. Concealed carry has clearly moved from something “gun people” do to something “safety minded people” do.
Initial licenses saw a decline of 10% (from 77,281 to 69,375) while renewals soared 83% (from 54,064 to 98,927). Total licenses issued increased 28% (from 131,345 to 168,302) which surpasses the previous record of 158,937 set in 2016. Total licenses issued was double the yearly average over the life of the program.
For the person without a CHL, what this means is that anytime they look around and see 13 other people, odds are that one of them has a CHL. Concealed carry is mainstream, common sense and is close to most people on a daily basis. It works so well that most people are blissfully unaware that anyone else is carrying a gun. Most people with a CHL have no desire to intimidate anyone; they quietly go about their life just like anyone else. Except they have the tools and training to defend life when the threat of death or grave bodily harm arises.
The renewal rate for the fourth quarter was 74%, slightly above the average for the life of the program.
During the fourth quarter, Ohio Sheriffs issued 14,659 initial CHLs, renewed 19,711 CHLs and processed 9 Temporary Emergency Licenses (TELs).
2018 was the sixth year in a row that Ohio Sheriffs issued over 100,000 licenses (initial and renewal) in the year.
Revocations were up in 2018 driven by two instructors who issues training certificates to people without providing the required training. We support law enforcement’s prosecution of instructors selling certificates without providing training. Even with this surge, the total number of revocations is less than one half of one percent of all licenses issued. 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 fourth quarter last year over 15 people per hour, or over 514 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.
License-holders, like gun owners in general, are not extremists as the anti-gun rights crowd claims. They are responsible 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.
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. They have been wrong every time, but some newspapers and anti-gun politicians keep repeating their nonsense. Thankfully most people understand the truth and ignore the radicals opposed to legal self-defense.
In the current environment when emotions and yelling seem to rule the day, it is important to look at the facts. Restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners will not deter criminals from illegal activity or make the mentally incompetent sane. We need real solutions to those problems.
Many media outlets have done a good job with factual reports on firearms and gun owners. A record number of Ohioans are carrying guns in more places, yet we have not seen any dramatic increase in violent crime. 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. It is time to fully “de-Taft” our CHL laws and bring Ohio in line with the majority of states. 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 steadily increasing number 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.
April 8, 2019 will mark fifteen 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 Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, recipient of the NRA-ILA's 2011 Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award and CCRKBA's 2012 Gun Rights Defender of the Year Award.