|Concealed carry licenses issued doubles in 2012|
|Friday, March 01, 2013 1:49 PM|
COLUMBUS - Van Wert County issued twice as many concealed carry licenses in 2012 as the previous year, according to the annual report from the Ohio Attorney General.
According to the figures from the office of Mike DeWine, a total of 218 such licenses were issued in Van Wert County last year. That compares to 83 in 2011 and 117 in 2010.
Across the state, 64,650 new licenses and 12,160 renewal licenses were issued by county sheriffs in Ohio, for a total of 78,810. The numbers for 2012 were a big increase over the previous year, when just over 54,000 were issued including 49,828 new concealed-carry licenses. The 2012 figures are the highest number of new licenses in a single year since licenses were first issued in 2004.
The previous combined one-year high was more than 73,000 in 2009.
“As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I am pleased to see more Ohioans than ever before are exercising their rights under Ohio’s concealed carry law,” DeWine said in a release. “I look forward to continuing to work with Ohio’s county sheriffs to provide information to Ohioans on this law’s usage.”
Specifically, 189 concealed carry licenses issued in Van Wert County were new licenses while another 29 were renewals. Two licenses were denied last year.
The story is similar in surrounding counties with concealed carry licenses up sharply as fears of crackdowns on gun ownership continue to run rampant.
In Allen County, another 657 concealed carry permits were issued compared to 374 the previous year, and in Mercer County the number of permits in 2012 were actually triple the number from 2011.
In Paulding County, 114 licenses were issued in 2012 compared to 64 in 2011. In Putnam County, 133 concealed carry licenses were given last year compared to 74 in 2011.
Statewide, 741 licenses were revoked — nearly twice the previous high of 378 in 2009. Application denial hit a high-water mark also, with 889 persons turned down last year for a concealed carry license. Reasons for revoking licenses may include the license holder moving out of state or being convicted of certain types of crimes.
The attorney general’s office does not comment on the possible reasons behind the jump in concealed-carry licenses, but supporters on both sides of the issue have their own ideas.
Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said that he expected to see an increase in the number of licenses issued. He talked with instructors who provide the firearms safety training required for licenses, and “they have all had their classes sold out.”
“It’s all about personal safety, and people wanting to protect themselves and their families,” he said.
Irvine also said that he thinks gun-control efforts by President Barack Obama’s administration have influenced more people to apply for licenses.
“People think they need to get them now because they might not have the opportunity later,” Irvine said.
Hank Johnson, 70, of Springboro, in southwest Ohio, got his first license in November and says he is concerned about attacks on the Second Amendment that guarantees the right to own guns.
Johnson, who has used guns for hunting and recreational purposes for years, said he hadn’t previously carried a concealed handgun but wants “to be able to protect my friends and family.”
“I’m not out to shoot somebody, but I am out to protect myself,” Johnson said.
Those who oppose the concealed carry law also weren’t surprised by the increase, either. But Toby Hoover, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun
Violence, noted that the numbers still represent a small percentage of all Ohioans.
“The pro-gun groups have been selling fear, trying to tell people that the government is trying to take their guns away,” Hoover said. “And when you sell fear to people, this is what happens.”
She said current efforts nationally to ban assault weapons and require better background checks are intended to reduce violence and “won’t take everyone’s guns away. But a lot of people are being told that.”
The coalition continues to oppose the concealed-carry law and believes more guns will just lead to more violence.
“Just because someone is a law-abiding good guy today, doesn’t mean he will be one tomorrow,” Hoover said.