Recent improvements to law spark surge in demand for concealed handgun licenses

By Jim Irvine

Attorney General Marc Dann has released the concealed handgun license (CHL) statistics for the third quarter of 2007. With a whopping 37% increase in demand over the prior year, there are now over 100,000 people licensed to carry concealed firearms in Ohio. Every business day, another 75 people receive their CHL in Ohio.

In the third quarter, Ohio sheriff’s issued 4,842 new concealed carry licenses including 4,823 regular licenses and 19 Temporary emergency licenses (TEL’s) Since Ohio’s law went into effect there have been 103,810 regular licenses issued and another 440 TEL’s. Less than one half of one percent of those licenses have been revoked for any reason.

When the statistical reports detailed how many people obtained licenses in the first year the law was in effect many in the media made a story about “low demand” for licenses. We were asked why the numbers were so low, and lower than we had predicted in the years leading up to passage of the concealed carry law. We noted that 52,000 people obtaining their license in the first year was not insignificant, but it was lower than originally predicted. The reason we gave was that the law was not as good as we expected it to be. More important, it was not as good as the average citizen expected it to be.


The most common complaint was the “plain sight” restriction in motor vehicles. Though car carry is still a major problem today, the law was greatly improved with the elimination of the “plain sight” holster requirement when HB347 took effect in March of this year.

Another complaint with the original law was the abuse of the media access loophole by journalists who were obtaining entire lists of CHL-holders' confidential, non-public information and published it. The media's ability to harrass law-abiding gun owners in this manner was addressed by passage of HB9.

Since the passage of these two pieces of legislation, there has been a significant increase in demand for CHL’s. It seems we were right; people want the legislature to pass good laws.

Both second and third quarter numbers for 2007 exceeded the same period from 2006. Prior to this year, that had never happened. Now it’s happened two quarters in a row. The strong demand almost assures that for the first time in Ohio, there will be more new licenses issued in the current year than the prior year. Increasing demand in the fourth year of concealed carry is a strong sign that the general public is supportive of this law.

There are probably many reasons for the increase in numbers. Certainly passing good legislation helps. As noted above, the past year has seen improvements on car carry, and significant modifications to the media access loophole to prevent harassment of gun owners by journalists who were obtaining and printing confidential, non-public information about CHL’s. Another significant accomplishment was the statewide preemption of hundreds of obscure local gun control laws.

Beyond the scope of legislative improvements, the media has reported on violent crime, and on occasion done stories about CHL’s fighting back when attacked, and winning these deadly encounters. While anti-gun bias is still strong in the “mainstream” media, there have been several good reports about concealed carry. Honest reporting helps shape public perception of why it’s important to be able to defend your life. Real life examples touch people on a personal level.

As more people get a license and talk to friends and neighbors who have a curiosity about getting a license, but don’t know where to start, we have the ability to reach out to less traditional gun owners. People who had never owned a gun a year ago, have a CHL today. That is tremendous progress for us.

Click here for the Attorney General’s third quarter report.


Click here to access the list of Ohio CHL-holders acting in self-defense in the Buckeyefirearms.org Education Guide.
Source: Buckeye Firearms Association