The odds are one in 17 that any adult you see has a concealed handgun license.
It was another record setting year for Concealed Handgun Licenses in Ohio. There are now over a half-million valid Ohio CHLs and Ohio Honors estimated 12.3 million more from other states, according to a report filed by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
For the first time, there are over 500,000 active Ohio CHLs. That represents over four percent of Ohio residents are now authorized to carry concealed handguns. The 36,118 figure is the most initial CHLs ever issued in a quarter, which is a 132 percent increase over the same period the prior year.
Scioto County figures are up for the first quarter of 2016 as well. Chief Deputy Todd Miller of the Scioto County Sheriff’s Office said there were 354 new issues, 155 licenses renewed, one suspended and three applications denied.
None of this is surprising to Ohio concealed carry instructors who have been swamped with demand for their classes.
“Buckeye Firearms Association was widely criticized for supporting a reduction in required training from 12 to eight hours,” Jim Irvine, president of BFA’s board of directors, said. “The reason we supported the change was simple; we actually wanted more people to get training. Most people can’t concentrate for 12 hours. A slightly shorter class is easier to get through and can mean better training and longer retention. The numbers we’re seeing from the attorney general’s office indicated that the new training requirements are less intimidating and the law is working as intended.”
Irvine cited the terrorist attacks in Paris, France and San Bernardino, California, as contributing to people’s interest in being prepared and able to take care of themselves and their families. The terrorist attack at a nightclub in Orlando is likely to spur further demand, as will future attacks, he said.
Irvine said the two biggest reasons people with a CHL don’t carry their gun are what he referred to as Ohio’s “burdensome laws” on victim zones (places where a CHL is prohibited from carrying guns) and threat of termination from their employer.
HB 48, sponsored by Representative Ron Maag (R), and SB 180, sponsored by Senator Joe Uecker (R), who represents Scioto County, would greatly improve these problem areas. However, the Ohio legislature has not moved either of those bills to Governor Kasich.
“Demand continues to support a theory expressed by Professor Brian Anse Patrick, professor at the University of Toledo, that demand has not leveled off, but is increasing over time,” Irvine said. “Concealed carry used to be thought of as an interest mainly of hardcore gun owners, but it has become increasingly popular with soccer moms and others who just want to be safe in their everyday lives. It is rapidly becoming mainstream.”
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