COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — New data released Wednesday by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s office shows a huge decrease in applications for concealed carry permits in the state.
The new report compiling year-end totals for 2022 from Yost’s office showed what he called a “predictable and significant drop” in the number of permits to concealed-carry handguns that the state’s county sheriffs issued. Looking at first-time applicants, 2022 saw 27,031 new licenses issued, a 71% decrease compared with 94,298 in 2021. The state saw 62,751 renewals — which permit-holders need every five years — compared with 108,622 in the year prior for a 42% decrease.
Yost drew a direct connection to the major drop in new and renewed licenses to a new state law passed in the same year. "Constitutional carry," known as Senate Bill 215 during its baking process in the Ohio Legislature, went into effect June 13 and completely dropped the permit requirement to carry a concealed weapon in the state. After the new law went into effect, some city governments, including Columbus, responded by introducing gun restrictions as ordinances.
Rather than eliminating the permit program, Ohio has created a system that simultaneously has both permit and permitless carry. However, aside from a lack of license, constitutional carriers also ditched the need to prove competency in using a firearm.
"Obtaining an official concealed-carry card in Ohio requires license-seekers to successfully complete eight hours of training covering handgun operation as well as safe handling of guns and ammunition," Yost wrote. "This includes two hours on a shooting range under the guidance of certified instructors."
The attorney general did note that there are still benefits to getting a concealed carry permit that constitutional carriers are missing out on.
"Permit-holders can continue to carry handguns when traveling in states that honor Ohio’s concealed-carry license, and sometimes can skip the background check when buying a gun, depending on the retailer’s policy," Yost said.
The fall in applications and renewals in 2022 also comes after 2021 was a "record-high" year for permit renewals. While it saw "slightly fewer" new licenses than 2020, the number of renewals jumped up 50% -- 108,622 compared with 72,340.