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Number of new concealed-carry permits dwindled in 2017

(March 2, 2018) — The number of newly issued concealed carry permits to allow Ohioans to carry handguns decreased by about 34 percent last year.

Ohio issued 77,281 new concealed carry licenses in 2017 as compared to 117,953 in 2016, according to a report by the office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. However, the amount of renewals in 2017 exceeded those in 2016 by around 14,000.

Lulls in new licenses have followed years with high numbers before. After the state issued a then-record 96,972 new licenses in 2013, only 58,066 were issued in 2014.

Jim Irvine, board president of the Buckeye Firearms Association, previously attributed 2016′s massive increase to a changing perception of guns.

“It’s about safety, not just guns,” Irvine said. “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.”

A 2017 report by the Crime Prevention Research Center found that concealed-carry permits, the number of which broke records nationwide in 2016, are closely tied to public opinion. The report points out that public interest in concealed-carry permits tends to increase after mass shootings.

Irvine also said the 2016 increase could have been due to fears of a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Gun control advocates celebrated the decline in issued permits, saying permit holders represent a minority of Ohioans.

“We do a lot of deciding on laws based on these numbers, but it’s a very small percentage of the 11 million people who live here,” Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence Founder Toby Hoover said. “I think everybody should be taken into consideration as they’re making these laws weaker and weaker as to where you can carry them.”

Other Ohio figures included in the report include the same number of permit suspensions in 2017 as in 2016 — 1,669. And, in 2017, 437 licenses were revoked as opposed to 697 in 2016.

In Franklin County, 6,019 new permits were issued — the highest in the state — down from 7,569 in 2016. Additionally, 3,564 were renewed, 131 were suspended and 53 were revoked.

In a previous Dispatch report, the Buckeye Firearms Association estimated more than 627,000

Ohioans — one in 14 adults — had obtained concealed-carry permits as of late last year. The attorney general’s office does not compile cumulative numbers on the permits, which have been issued since 2004.