With each day that passes, we are moving closer to this year’s election.
That doesn’t mean there still aren’t plenty of issues to discuss.
Among those are the firearm rights contained in the 2nd Amendment. It’s a time-honored tradition during every election cycle that some candidates will say those protections are under siege while their opponents will say there’s nothing wrong with a few common-sense controls.
What can’t be argued, though, is that a large number of Americans have received a concealed-carry permit. In fact, according to the annual report issued by the Crime Prevention Research Center, the number of concealed handgun permits in the United States has reached 19.48 million.
That represents an increase of 820,000, or 4.4 percent, above 2019. While those numbers represent the lowest percentage and absolute increases since the organization began collecting data in 2011, it is still estimated that 7.6 percent of American adults have permits. And, to add a little more perspective, that number in 1999 was listed as 2.7 million.
The study, which was compiled by John R. Lott and Rujan Wang, points out that five states — including Pennsylvania –have more than 1 million permit holders. That number, as of July 20, was 1,417050, the report indicated, which puts the Keystone State way ahead of the rest of the Tri-State Area. Ohio had 710,085 permit holders as of March 31, and West Virginia had 147,327 as of May 28.
For 2019, according to the annual report Attorney General David Yost issued in March, sheriffs in Ohio issued 132,385 concealed-carry licenses. Of those, 77,959 were renewals, a number that was down 21 percent from 2018, and 54,426 were new permits, a number that was off by 21.5 percent.
In our region, Harrison was among the lowest among the state’s 88 counties, issuing 106 permits in 2019. That left it tied with Paulding and Fayette counties for 84th. Coshocton County had the lowest number at 38. Van Wert County issued 88 permits, Noble County 99 permits and Monroe County 103 permits to round out the bottom.
Franklin County saw the highest number of permits, with 4,740, the highest number of renewals at 4,226 and the highest number of suspended permits at 170. There were no suspensions in Athens, Meigs or Noble counties, and one each in Carroll, Coshocton, Logan, Monroe and Vinton counties.
When it comes to revoked licenses, Mahoning County led the state with 134. There were none in several counties, including Carroll, Columbiana and Harrison counties.
There were 188 applications denied in Lucas County, the highest number in the state, and two were denied in Carroll County.
Jefferson County saw 356 new permits issued, 631 permits renewed, 12 permits suspended, 11 permits revoked and nine permits denied.
Other numbers from Harrison County showed 197 permits were renewed, three permits were suspended and four permits were denied.
Columbiana County also saw 654 new permits, 915 renewed permits, 51 permits suspended and four permits denied.
Carroll County also saw 133 new permits, 220 renewed permits and two licenses denied.
In Belmont County, there were 259 permits issued, 603 permits renewed, seven licenses suspended, one license revoked and one license denied.
No system of licensing or permitting can be perfect, and yes, there are some people who get concealed-carry permits who should not be allowed to have them. But if you look at all of the numbers, you will see that there are procedures in place and training available that, if followed and practiced, should ensure that all Americans can continue to enjoy the freedoms contained in the 2nd Amendment.
(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)