A record 637,000 Ohio adults now have Concealed Handgun Licenses

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) has released the Concealed Handgun License (CHL) statistics for the third quarter of 2017. The pace of license issuance has declined compared to last year, but total numbers are still increasing.

During the third quarter Ohio Sheriff’s issued 15,182 initial CHLs, 16 Temporary Emergency Licenses (TELs) and renewed 12,401 CHLs. There are now over 637,000 active Ohio CHLs, or about 7% of the adult population. This is more than double the "traditional 3%" of the population that obtained a license 10 years ago.

For the person without a CHL, what this means is that anytime they look around and see 14 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.

Even with the record number of CHLs, there were only 90 licenses revoked during the quarter, which remains below average over the past few years. Less than one half of one percent of all CHLs have ever been revoked for any reason, including death or moving out of state. 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 over 12 people per hour, or over 400 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 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 issues you support and get their thoughts as well. We welcome your feedback. Law enforcement and armed citizens are on the same side opposing criminals. Our sheriffs generally work with us to enhance the rights of the "good guys.” Sadly the Chiefs of Police and FOP continue to oppose our good work in the statehouse, claiming CHL’s are a danger to officer safety.

License-holders, like gun owners in general, are not extremists as the anti-gun rights crowd claims. They are men and women, liberal and conservative and every ethnic and religious background. 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.

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. 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.

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 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.

It’s been over thirteen 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, 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 - 2017 Q3 Concealed Carry Stats

Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense

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