Concealed gun carry permits grew in Ohio this year, but the state still trails its neighbors in the number of permits issued.
Statewide, some 16,823 permits were approved in the first three months of 2012, an increase of 40 percent over the same period two years ago, according to the Daily News
, which also reported that state officials expect permit applications to increase as the presidential election approaches.
The newspaper noted that gun advocates and opponents agree the increases around election time are normal because people are unsure about how gun laws will be affected with a new president and Congress in office.
Ohio, however, still has fewer carriers than adjoining states, with about 3.2 percent of adults permitted for a concealed handgun. By comparison, about 8 percent of adults in Pennsylvania and Indiana have permits, the Daily News reported.
Gun rights advocates attributed the increased numbers to new state laws that allow concealed weapons in restaurants, bars that serve liquor, and in school zones. But while the number of permits may be low compared to its immediate neighbors, Ohio still ranks 11th overall among states in the number of active permits on file, the newspaper noted.
That ranking could change though as the state prepares to enact new laws eliminating gun safety classes and background checks, repealing a requirement that gun holders tell police they have a weapon when pulled over, and making permit renewals easier.
There are about 8 million active concealed weapons permits nationwide, with Florida leading the way with 887,000 registered carriers.
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