Statistics released by the office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine Feb. 27 indicate 64,650 new concealed-carry licenses and 12,160 renewal licenses were issued in Ohio last year, for a record-breaking combined total of 76,810. The new licenses were also the most in a single year since the state's law allowing citizens to carry concealed handguns went into effect.
The 2012 numbers represented a substantial increase over 2011, when just more than 54,000 were issued, including 49,828 new licenses. 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. "I look forward to continuing to work with Ohio's county sheriffs to provide information to Ohioans on this law's usage."
Ohio's numbers are reported by county sheriffs, who are required under state law to report concealed-handgun license statistics quarterly to the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission within the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
To many, including those who conduct the firearm-safety training classes necessary to acquire an Ohio concealed-carry license, this week's report from the AG did not come as a surprise.
Jim Irvine, chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, said in his conversations with instructors, "they have all had their classes sold out."
Irvine said he also believes gun-control efforts by President Barack Obama's administration and in legislatures across the country have influenced more people to purchase firearms and to apply for licenses to carry firearms for personal protection.
"People think they need to get them now because they might not have the opportunity later," Irvine said in a statement this week. "It's all about personal safety, and people wanting to protect themselves and their families."