People still getting concealed carry license despite new law

·3 min read

LANCASTER − Ohio residents do not need a license to conceal carry a firearm since a new state law took effect in June. But many are still getting a license anyway.

However, Fairfield County Sheriff's Office civil coordinator Jeneanne Smyers said the numbers have dropped considerably.

She said last year was exceptionally busy with 2,030 conceal carry applications processed. Smyers has processed about 865 so far this year and expects that number to climb to around 1,300 to 1,500 by year's end.

The county had 1,908 applicants in 2020 and 1,074 in 2019.

MORE: Some law enforcement officers not too concerned with one aspect of permitless carry

"I think it's slowed probably statewide," she said. "So a lot of people that we are getting here are local. We're not getting as many out-of-county people like we were, especially all during COVID."

Those who want to get a concealed carry permit must go to the sheriff's office in the county in which they live or a county that borders their home county. For example, since Fairfield County borders Licking County, a local resident could get their permit in Licking County and vice versa.

Smyers said during the COVID-19 pandemic some counties limited the number of hours in which people could apply for a permit. But Fairfield County did not, so that increased the number of out-of-county residents who came here for their permits.

"During those months through COVID we were hopping," Smyers said. "It was a jammed schedule. We had people waiting in their car to come in, so we did everything safely. But it was very busy from other counties and with people here, too."

While those legally allowed to carry a firearm do not need a permit to carry concealed in Ohio now, there are still some valid reasons for getting a permit.

One is they can travel in other states that honor Ohio's permits but do not allow for permitless carry. Smyers also said some people wonder if the new law will stay intact. Additionally, those with a permit can buy a firearm without undergoing a background check at some gun stores.

Smyers also suggested those with a current permit should keep it because they can renew off of it even if it were expired for several years. She said they wouldn't have to go through the required courses and training someone getting a new permit must go through.

As for Smyers, she said her job is less stressful now with fewer people seeking a permit. The permit process is just one part of her job, so she said can now concentrate more on her other duties.

"I was giving it more than two hours a night overtime trying to get everything completed," Smyers said. "Because it is a job that was added to my regular job back in '04. So squeezing all that into a day was difficult, especially with those high numbers."

Smyers said that anyone who has questions about any laws pertaining to firearms should contact an attorney.

jbarron@gannett.com

740-681-4340

Twitter: @JeffDBarron

This article originally appeared on Lancaster Eagle-Gazette: People still getting concealed carry license despite new law