March 2004

Downrange: 03/04

Ohio Licensing Begins April 9
Ohio Gov. Bob Taft has signed legislation giving law-abiding and mentally competent Ohioans the right to carry concealed handguns.

The law will take effect April 9. Work already has started on the application forms and other material that county sheriffs will need to process applications and issue licenses.

Still, it could be as long as 60 days after the bill takes effect before Ohioans can start applying for licenses. When licenses do become available, sheriffs should brace themselves for a flurry of applications, if recent experience in Michigan is any guide.

Michigan revised its concealed-carry law in 2001, and the state received 62,902 applications the first year and issued 53,000 licenses. The second year applications tailed off to 29,914, with 27,499 licenses being issued.

In Ohio, sheriffs will issue the licenses to all those 21 or older who meet certain requirements, including completion of 12 hours of training and passage of background checks. It will cost up to $45 to apply. Licenses will be good for four years and can be renewed.

Applicants could be disqualified for reasons including felony convictions, mental incompetence and being subject to a protection order for domestic violence.

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Gray Panthers With Teeth
A report in The Christian Science Monitor suggests that more senior citizens are carrying guns, mainly to protect themselves from what they see as a rise in violence.

Reversing longstanding patterns in the U.S., people ages 65 and up are now the mostly likely of all citizens to own a gun. Personal gun ownership used to be highest among middle-aged people, but in 2000 and 2002 surveys conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, gun ownership is now highest in the 65+ age group.

Reason: John Bender, executive director of the Seniors United Supporting the Second Amendment notes that guns “make everyone equal” by compensating for physical disabilities seniors may have. A gun is a major factor in counteracting self-defense worries.

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N.M. Supreme Court Okays Carry
This state’s Supreme Court recently let stand a new law that allows New Mexicans to be licensed to carry loaded, concealed handguns.

The five-member court rejected a challenge to the constitutionality of the law filed by a children’s advocacy group and a physician.

Under the law, the Department of Public Safety was authorized to issue concealed-carry licenses as of Jan. 1. Fifteen applications are pending, department spokesman Peter Olson said.

“I think that more people are going to start applying. The floodgates have been opened,” Olson said.

The law allows New Mexicans who are at least 25 years old to get two-year licenses to carry loaded, concealed handguns after completing firearms training courses and passing criminal background checks.


-by Todd Woodard