COLUMBUS, Ohio - The number of Ohioans who have licenses to legally carry concealed firearms has more than doubled in the past three years, according to figures from the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
With another 49,825 people obtaining the license in 2011, that pushed the figure from 2009 to 2011 to 153,853 newly issued licenses. That includes the one-year record of 56,691 in 2009.
At this point, more than 265,000 Ohioans now have permits making them eligible to carry their firearms hidden in their clothing or vehicles. And gun rights activists expect that number to continue to climb this year, likely eclipsing the 300,000 mark.
"Eventually you aren't going to know who you might come into contact with who legally is carrying a gun, and that's the point," said Jeff Garvas, of Ohioans for Concealed Carry. "Eventually people with bad intentions aren't going to realize who they are coming into contact with."
Garvas attributes the increase to more people being concerned about their personal safety. He pointed to the recent spate of gunshot killings in the Cleveland area as the type of incidents motivating people to carry their firearms outside their homes.