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Ohio issues record number of concealed-carry permits in 2016
By Kat Tenbarge
The Columbus Dispatch
(March 1, 2017) — Ohio issued a record-breaking 158,000 concealed-carry gun permits in 2016, and 75 percent of them were for newly licensed individuals.
Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman Jim Irvine said the perception that only “gun people” are getting concealed-carry licenses is changing.
“It’s becoming more mainstream,” Irvine said.
“It’s about safety, not just guns. Having a smoke detector isn’t about smoke detectors; it’s about safety. Wearing a seat belt is about safety. People are starting to see that, but with guns.”
Irvine acknowledged that the possibility of a Hillary Clinton presidency spiked interest in concealed carry last year.
At the same time, he said, continuing interest since the Nov. 8 election of President Donald Trump disproves the view that people would stop applying for permits.
But for Jennifer Thorne, executive director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, the record-breaking number is a sign that many people who obtain concealed-carry permits have been scared into thinking they can leave their home only with a locked and loaded weapon. And that can lead to problems.
“We know the predictors for gun violence are not necessarily things like mental illness,” she said. “It’s things like losing your temper, or having too much to drink, or using drugs that impair your judgement. The issue is that now people have guns with them all of the time.”
The 2016 total is the largest since concealed-carry permits were first issued in Ohio in 2004. About 1 in every 16 Ohioans possesses a permit. The number of new permits had dipped in 2015 from 2014.
Statistics reported by the Ohio attorney general’s office show that 117,953 new licenses were issued in 2016. The record had been 2013′s 96,972 new licenses.
Also in 2016, 1,669 licenses were suspended, and 697 were revoked. Both totals have climbed since 2012.
In addition, 40,986 licenses were renewed; that was down from 44,551 in 2015.
License denials totaled 1,634 last year, up from 1,117 in 2015.
Franklin County issued the most licenses in 2016 — 7,569 — followed by Montgomery County (6,407) and Lake County (6,045).
Several state laws approved in recent years have relaxed the restrictions on obtaining gun permits and allowed easier access to public spaces while possessing a concealed weapon.
A bill signed in January by Gov. John Kasich allows colleges and universities, day cares, school safety zones and some public buildings to adopt policies allowing people to possess guns.
The law goes into effect this month, but several universities — Ohio State, Ohio, Kent State, Cincinnati, Miami, Xavier and Wright State — have made it known that they are not prepared to change their gun policies.
The full attorney general’s 2016 report is available at http://bit.ly/2lswtO5.