A few more numbers

Even though we are more than a week into March, reports that cover 2018 continue to be issued by government agencies and other organizations.

One of those that was issued a little more than a week ago was the annual concealed-carry report from Ohio Attorney General David Yost. It showed that during the past year, sheriff’s departments across the state issued 69,375 new licenses and had a record 98,927 renewals.

What makes those numbers a little more interesting is that while that total of new licenses issued was the lowest in the state since 2014, the number of renewals was higher than the numbers for 2016 (40,968) and 2017 (54,064) put together. According to Yost’s office, the state issued 77,281 new permits in 2017, 117,953 new permits in 2016, 71,589 new permits in 2015 and 58,066 new permits in 2014.

Those numbers were not surprising to Sgt. Gary Slates, who handles the applications for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. Ohio’s sheriffs, Yost said, are responsible for administering the concealed-carry license process.

“It’s a pretty steady flow,” Slates said of the permit applications.

Jefferson County saw 485 new licenses issued and had 960 renewals in 2018, which compared with 572 new licenses issued and 440 renewals in 2017. Last year also saw 11 licenses suspended, 11 licenses denied and one license revoked.

Harrison County also had more renewals — 290 — than new licenses — 239 — last year, while seeing two licenses suspended, one license revoked and eight licenses denied.

Those statistics hold for the other counties in our region. Belmont County had 805 renewals and 284 new licenses granted; Carroll County saw 476 licenses renewed and 163 new licenses issued; and Columbiana County had 1,263 licenses renewed and 837 new licenses issued.

That there were so many renewals last year was not really surprising.

“Most of the renewals come from people who just say they have forgotten,” Slates explained. “It’s something that needs to be done every five years.”

Ohio also has temporary emergency licenses, and, according to the attorney general, Jefferson County issued one of them last year and three in 2017.

Slates explained it’s rare to see a license issued in that category.

“You can only get one of those licenses if you can prove there are very unusual circumstances,” he said. “If you’ve been threatened, for instance. We don’t issue too many of those.”

While the number of licenses issued is interesting, of even greater significance could be the number of applications that have been denied. That number for Ohio was 1,436 last year, the second highest in the program’s history — the record number came in 2016, when 1,634 applications were denied.

Of importance to Ohio residents, especially those who live in areas such as ours, with West Virginia just across the Ohio River and Pennsylvania less than 5 miles or so beyond is that concealed handgun reciprocity agreements exist with many other states, Yost says in his report. Those include West Virginia and Pennsylvania, as well as Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan — all of the states that border ours.

Gun-control fights continue to rage on many different levels around the country. Those discussions are important, and they should be held. That said, it’s important to remember that procedures have been put into place that ensure that those who are responsible and who are willing to go through a comprehensive process while adhering to the law will continue to be able to enjoy the freedoms protected by the Second Amendment.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)


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