The 37,761 concealed handgun licenses (CHL) issued in Ohio in the first three months of 2013 were nearly double the number issued in the same period last year, Attorney General Mike DeWine reported May 3.
DeWine said there were 31,407 new licenses and 6,354 renewal licenses issued between Jan. 1 and March 31 in The Buckeye State, compared to 16,823 in the first quarter of 2012 and 64,650 new licenses issued for all of last year.
The 37,761 new licenses issued in the first quarter were more than in all of 2005 (22,457), 2006 (15,751) or 2007(22,103).
"The increase in law-abiding Ohioans seeking concealed carry permits to exercise their Second Amendment privileges is a noteworthy trend" DeWine said. "I look forward to continuing to work with Ohio's county sheriffs to provide information to Ohioans on this law's usage."
The Attorney General's Office compiles an annual report as required by law about the number of licenses issued each year. Each sheriff must report concealed handgun license statistics quarterly to the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission within the Ohio Attorney General's Office. Those quarterly statistics are published on the Ohio Attorney General's website once compiled and verified.
The record first quarter for Ohio CHLs comes off a record-setting 2012, when 76,810 CHLs and renewals issued by Ohio sheriffs.
"The second quarter is normally the busiest of the year for CHL licensing," wrote Jim Irvine, Chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman and recipient of the 2011 NRA-ILA Jay M. Littlefield Volunteer of the Year Award. "If that holds true this year, we will have set a new record for total licenses issued in a year in the next 60 days."
As of March 31, an all-time record 351,249 Ohio residents were licensed to carry concealed firearms.
Irvine said while it is difficult to point to specific reasons for the first quarter spike, he believes the recent relaxing of some restrictions relating to concealed-carry contributed to the increase.
"It is always difficult to assign specific reasons for behavior, but there is no denying that we have seen strong demand for CHLs since Governor John Kasich signed SB17 (Restaurant & Car Carry Rules Fix) and HB54 (Restoration of Rights) legislation into law," Irvine said. "In December he signed HB495 (Concealed Carry Modernization) again making the program function better. As we have seen many times in Ohio, when the law is improved, the demand for training and licenses increases."