The Ohio Attorney General's Office this morning reported that the state had issued a record 56, 691 concealed handgun licenses last year, topping the previous high of 45,497 set in 2004 when the concealed handgun law first went into effect and representing a 67 percent increase from the 33,864 licenses issued in 2008. (Report)
Explanations for the increase vary. A USAToday article said "Jeff Garvas, president of Ohioans for Concealed Carry, an advocacy group for the law, said he believes the record-setting numbers are primarily about the economic downturn…
"Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said he thinks licenses are up because more people are concerned that President Barack Obama is going to do something to limit gun ownership. In the first six months of 2009, around the time and soon after Obama took office, Ohio issued 34,244 permits. That was 380 more licenses than the state issued for all of 2008… Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, blames firearms supporters for creating a fear of Obama in order to drive up membership in their groups. 'It's the gun lobby saying, 'Just wait, (Obama's) waiting to pounce and will take your guns away,'' Hoover said. 'That's what they are telling people. You see it in their literature and newsletters and it has made people very fearful.'"
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray in his statement said, "If there's something to take away from these numbers, it is that more and more Ohioans are comfortable exercising the right to carry concealed handguns. We are pleased that we have a strong partnership with the county sheriffs who issue concealed handgun licenses, and we will continue to work together to help eligible Ohioans take advantage of this law."
Of that 56,691 number of concealed licenses issued last year, Franklin County and Columbus had the highest number of permits issued with 3, 464. Paulding County, with its population of 20,000 in the northwestern Ohio, the least with 37.
The number of licenses actually issued, though, is only part of the picture. 636 applications for permits were denied last year to individuals failing to meet the eligibility requirements set forth in Revised Code §2923.125, compared to 436 in 2004, just after passage of the bill. 378 licenses were also permanently revoked to individuals moving out of the state, dying, or having been convicted of a disqualifying crime under ORC § 2923.128, as opposed to 42 in 2004. Revised Code § 2923.13 bars convicted felons, fugitives, addicts, and persons adjudicated as mentally incompetent among others from possessing or carrying concealed weapons.
Of those 56, 691 instances, Cleveland (Cuyahoga County) had 1,100 licenses issued last year, with 63 being denied and 19 revoked; Toledo (Lucas County) reported issuing 1, 507 licenses, with 58 being denied and 127 revoked; and Dayton’s Montgomery County issued 1, 748 licenses while denying 47 and revoking only 7. In our own neighborhood here in Cincinnati (Hamilton County) 2, 297 licenses were issued, with 64 being denied and 13 revoked; 2, 227 licenses were issued in Butler County (Hamilton, Ohio), with 24 being denied and 77 being revoked. Clermont County issued 2, 495 licenses while denying 20 and revoking 11; and Warren County issued 1, 437, denied 4, and only revoked one.
Also noteworthy to the Attorney General's report is that 18 other states have "reciprocity agreements" with Ohio on concealed carry laws, including Michigan, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Tennessee.
Ohio Revised Code (“concealed carry”) 2923.12
Possession Under Disability (2923.13)