Do you know how many of your neighbors have a license to carry a concealed weapon?
No? That’s because Ohio keeps those records private.
The state releases a quarterly report of all the concealed carry licenses issued, renewed and suspended by county, but that’s as far as the breakdown goes. Information by city or zip code is not available.
Representatives from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office told Patch via email that the Ohio Revised Code allows journalists to view the list of license holders, but not to copy the information. The code defines the records as confidential. Journalists are the only individuals named in that portion of the law who are allowed to view the records and are defined as those employed by or otherwise connected to a news medium.
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Not all states protect their gun permit holders’ privacy so well — a New York-based newspaper, The Journal News, recently sparked a debate when it published a map with the names and addresses of gun owners in nearby counties. The Huffington Post reports that critics said the map could put people with — and without — guns in danger.
Peekskill-Cortlandt Patch reports that a new, bipartisan coalition has formed in opposition to the newspaper’s map, saying it puts residents at risk. One of the examples given was that inmates in local jails now know the addresses of corrections officers.
The numbers in Ohio
According to the report released by the state, there were 560 regular concealed carry licenses issued and 208 renewed in Cuyahoga County in the third quarter of 2012. There were nine licenses suspended, 13 revoked and another 11 denied.
In Summit County, there were 354 licenses issued and 107 renewed during that time. Ten licenses were suspended and 17 were denied.
Overall, there were 13,949 regular licenses issued across Ohio in the third quarter of 2012. Another 3,447 were renewed.
The most recent annual report from the state is for 2011. According to the report, the state had issued about 296,600 regular and temporary concealed carry licenses from April 2004 — when the state began allowing concealed weapons — through the end of 2011. The reports do not include the number of total active licenses.
What do you think? Should the state release more information about concealed carry license holders or is privacy critical in this case? Tell us in the comments.