The number of Ohioans permitted to carry a concealed handgun grew again in 2017, new data from the Ohio Attorney General's Office shows.
Enquirer calculations suggest a 10 percent increase in the last year in the number of Ohioans with active concealed carry permits. An estimated one out of 20 Ohioans may be packing a concealed handgun.
In 2017, 77,281 new licenses were issued. The year before the state issued a record 117,953, the vast majority of which are still active.
A record number of people, 54,064, renewed their licenses in 2017. Concealed carry permits expire after five years.
Ohio residents were permitted to apply for concealed carry licenses beginning in 2004. License holders are permitted to carry handguns on their person out of plain sight in areas where the practice is allowed.
Ohioians cannot carry weapons in courthouses, law enforcement offices, school safety zones, airports and most government facilities. Universities and places of worship can individually allow people to carry weapons. Permit holders, who are not drinking alcohol, may carry handguns into liquor establishments.
Any private property owner may post signs banning concealed handguns on their premises.
There is no data available that shows the exact number of active licenses in Ohio. Licenses expire and people move, but sheriffs are required to report the number of new licenses issued, the number of renewals and the number of licenses revoked or suspended each year.
Based on this data, it can be estimated that as many as 652,000 Ohio residents have active concealed carry licenses. In March last year, The Enquirer estimated about 595,000 people had licenses.
The Census Bureau estimated the 2017 population of Ohio to be 11.6 million people meaning about 5.6 percent of the population holds a permit.
In Hamilton County, the data suggests about 23,900 have permits. In 2017, 3075 new permits were issued in the county. Of the 88 counties in Ohio, only Montgomery, Franklin and Lake counties issued more permits last year.