One of every 61 Ohio adults has a license to carry a concealed firearm in public, according to a WCPO analysis.
The analysis of Ohio’s Concealed Handgun Law 2013 Annual Report shows that 96,972 new gun-carry licenses were issued last year in Ohio’s 88 counties. Another 48,370 licenses were renewed.
Both 2013 totals were sizeable increases over the previous year, when 64,650 new licenses were issued and 12,160 renewed.
Ohio’s most populated counties had the most license issues and renewals.
Montgomery, Franklin, Clermont, Lake and Hamilton counties made up the top five. Each had more than 3,500 new licenses and 1,500 renewals.
But the WCPO analysis, which matched census population data with license totals, shows counties with less than 50,000 residents having some of the highest rates of licensed gun carriers.
Madison County had the highest overall rate – in a crowd of 10 adult county residents, you’ll likely find one who’s licensed to carry a gun. The county granted and renewed 3,847 licenses in 2013, a 166 percent increase from the previous year.
Brown County, with only 33,000 residents, recorded the largest gain in licenses issued or renewed. In 2012, authorities reported 234 new and renewed licenses; last year, there were 1,005 – a 317-percent increase.
Authorities note that rates and totals may be higher in some smaller suburban counties because residents from large urban counties sometimes register in suburban areas.
Ohio law allows residents to apply for a license in their home county or an adjoining county.
Statewide, the 2013 issuance totals – highest in at least five years – came at a time when suspensions and denials of licenses also reached a five-year high.
Under Ohio law, the county sheriff must suspend a license if a person has been arrested or charged with certain crimes, or comes under a protective court order. The license may be returned if the person is found not guilty, or the charges dismissed.
A license can be denied if a person fails to meet eligibility qualifications, such as age or criminal history.
Counties also revoked 286 licenses last year – the third highest total in five years, but far fewer than the 741 revoked in 2012.
A license can be revoked if the person moves out of state; dies; is convicted of certain crimes, or is ruled mentally ill.
The WCPO analysis shows residents in Hamilton and surrounding Ohio counties had higher rates of suspensions, denials and revocations than the rest of the state.
One license was thrown out or denied for every 34 issued and renewed last year in Brown, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton and Warren counties. For the rest of Ohio, the ratio was about 1 to 60.
The denials-to-issues margin was closer in 2012: 1-to-19 in the Tri-State Ohio counties, compared to 1-to-30 for the rest of the state.
The interactive visualization shows the number of concealed gun-carrying licenses issued and renewed per 1,000 residents in each Ohio county last year. Roll over or tap any county to see rate changes from 2012-2013.
Click on an individual county to see details in the chart on the number of licenses issued and rejected.