More people in Butler County and in Ohio overall have obtained concealed carry permits, according to new statistics from the state.
There were 25,474 Ohioans newly licensed with concealed carry permits in the third quarter of 2016 — a 59 percent increase over the 16,000 issued in the third quarter of 2015, according to statistics released by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
There were 93,851 initial concealed handgun licenses issued in the first three quarters of 2016. That nearly matches the previous yearly high of 96,972 new CCW licenses in 2013.
Ohio now has more than 574,000 valid concealed handgun licenses.
Dramatic increases were seen in Butler County (474 to 1,146), Champaign County (70 to 228) and Shelby County (97 to 323).
“And I expect in 2017 it will be even more,” said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.
The sheriff is a CCW advocate and has always encouraged eligible citizens to get their certification.
“There’s two reasons why the number increased so much last year. First, everyone thought Hillary Clinton was going to get elected. She doesn’t want people to have guns or bullets. So they wanted their CCW before the election. And second, the violence. People shooting up shopping malls, theaters, churches. People are scared. They want to be able to protect themselves,” Jones said.
He added violence is part of the time we are living in and he does not see it getting better soon.
“None of this is surprising,” Jim Irvine, board president of Buckeye Firearms Association, said in a press release. “Ohio concealed carry instructors remain swamped with demand for their classes.”
The numbers were up substantially in most southwest Ohio counties.
Montgomery County had a 54 percent increase from 848 to 1,308 from the third quarter of 2015 to the same period in 2016. Clark County went from 127 to 209; Preble County rose from 73 to 196; Darke County increased from 146 to 227; Warren County went from 577 to 698; Greene County rose from 300 to 522; Miami County inched up from 129 to 141; and Clinton County went from 86 to 173.
“We were widely criticized for supporting a reduction in required training from 12 to 8 hours,” Irvine added. “The reason was simple; we wanted more people to get training. The numbers indicate that the change in required training is having the effect we intended.”
Statewide, the number of license renewals dropped from 10,129 to 8,754 from the third quarter of 2015 to 2016. License suspensions increased from 334 to 416 and licenses revoked rose from 95 to 297, as did licenses denied from 280 to 346.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich had a concealed carry bill presented to his desk last week.
Senate Bill 199 originally added CCW permit holders to a protected class status under the state’s anti-discrimination law, but business groups said it infringed on employers’ rights. A limited bill was passed that would prohibit employers from barring concealed carry permit holders from storing their weapons in cars parked on company property.