The immediate fate of a Lucasville area weapons instructor is now in the hands of Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman.
Scioto County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Todd Miller told the Daily Times on Thursday following an investigation which began in roughly early November of last year, he had turned the issue over to the county prosecutor’s office in late December. Miller said the Sheriff’s office believes the instructor in question had been handing out concealed carry permits without providing the instruction mandated under state law.
Miller added roughly 35 to 40 CCW permits awarded may be in jeopardy. He continued the instructor potentially faces multiple felony charges which could ultimately result in fines and jail time.
As the person still has not been formally charged, Miller declined to release the suspect’s name. He further declined to speculate when Tieman’s office might make a decision on proceeding with the case.
Should the prosecutor’s office decide charges in the investigation are warranted, the next step would typically be taking the case to a county grand jury.
Rick Jones is a local firearms instructor as well as the south-central Ohio spokesperson for the Buckeye Firearms Association. He said should problems be found with the firearm instruction classes given by any instructor, persons who used that instructor to gain a concealed carry permit likely will lose that permit.
In December, Jones talked about another case currently underway against an instructor in Akron. He said several years ago an Ohio instructor was convicted of selling course completion certificates without actually requiring buyers take any training. Persons who had used the instructor lost any money they paid to that person and any who had gained a permit through that instructor, lost their permit.
Again, in mid-December, when the Daily Times first learned of the investigation into the Lucasville instructor, the paper contacted the Ohio Attorney General’s office for information on CCW rules in the state in general. By email, the attorney general’s office response was to point to their website.
According to that website, state law gives county sheriff’s offices control over concealed carry permits. Persons must apply in their county of residence or in a neighboring county. A key permit requirement is completion of an eight-hour firearm safety course “conducted by an instructor who was certified by an official or entity of Ohio, another state, the United States government, or a national gun advocacy group that complies with the minimum educational requirements.”
In the case of the Lucasville instructor, Miller said that instructor was certified by the National Rifle Association. Miller added the sheriff’s office had notified the NRA of the ongoing situation.
Sheriff’s offices statewide have the authority to determine if an organization qualifies to conduct firearms courses. Courses must meet certain minimum educational requirements consisting of both hands-on firearms experience as well as a written exam.
Rules are different for law enforcement officers as well as former or current military personnel. All persons hoping to gain a concealed carry permit must pass a criminal background check and have been deemed mentally competent, among other requirements.
According to the Attorney General’s website, there are roughly 21 concealed carry instructors in Scioto County certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission. There are an unknown number of other instructors certified by groups such as the NRA.
Statistics on the Attorney General site state in 2017 Ohio sheriff’s offices issued 131,345 regular concealed carry licenses, including 77,281 new licenses and 54,064 renewals. The state denied just over 1,200 permit applications.
Locally, in Scioto County, the sheriff’s office last year issued 711 concealed carry permits, with the vast majority of those, 509, being renewals. They denied applications in only three instances.