A gun can be a scary object, and rightfully so. Guns are classified as weapons and are commonly used by police, soldiers and hunters as a means of threatening, harming and sometimes killing. Some individuals might believe that only those in the previously named professions should have access to guns, but I disagree.
Ohio, along with most states, offers a concealed carry weapon or CCW license that can be obtained by most citizens who are 21 years of age or older. This license enables a person to carry a handgun in areas that allow it. The permit is available to almost anyone, but the applicant must take a 12 hour course taught by a qualified instructor, be fingerprinted and undergo a background check before the license can be obtained.
The Associated Press recently released an article stating that county sheriffs in Ohio issued more concealed carry licenses last year than they have since 2004, which was when licensing began in the state.
Attorney General Mike DeWine said statistics show that nearly 97,000 new licenses and more than 48,000 renewal licenses were given in 2013 for a total of 145,342. The previous record for total licenses issued was nearly 77,000, in 2012. To me, these statisitcs show that more and more people feel they need personal protection. This also means that more than likely you or someone you know has their license.
One of the first things I learned about my husband was that he had his CCW license. My initial response was disbelief and then shock, especially after he revealed that he had his gun with him as we were sitting in a restaurant. Growing up I was never exposed to guns. Except for an uncle who lives in Maryland, there are no hunters in my family and no one shoots recreationally. Until meeting my husband I had never shot a real firearm and knew very little about them. To be honest, they had always scared me. Knowing things can go very badly when a gun falls into the wrong hands has always been an unsettling thought. I had never liked thinking that the world was an evil place and that personal protection was something to seriously consider, but my thoughts have since changed.
It took me awhile to get use to the idea that my husband carried a gun, but I soon found myself feeling more at ease knowing he had this weapon. I was no longer hesitant to walk through a dark parking lot. I felt a new sense of protection that I hadn't before. My husband has since taught me the basics of firearm use and I have practiced shooting a few times. I hope to soon become comfortable enough to fully operate one on my own.
Those with their license understand that it's a huge responsibility. Carrying a gun is not something to be taken lightly. If you could never guess someone is carrying, then they're doing it right.
I find it interesting that the states with the strictest gun laws that do not readily offer the concealed carry permit have the highest rates of gun violence. New York, California, Washington D.C., these are the areas where you would feel most safe with the protection of a gun, and yet they practically refuse to allow them.
Criminals will find a way to get guns no matter the laws. Shootings always occur in areas where guns are not permitted, so the public is unprotected from the criminal who illegally has one.
With all of the horrible shootings our nation has experienced within these last few years it's no surprise that laws concerning guns have come under scrutiny. However, I don't think that those who are responsible American citizens should be punished for the acts of criminals. I'm not a gun conossieur and I definitely don't claim to know all of the laws regarding firearms, but I personally feel they're a necessity and should be available to those who meet the requirements.
I plan to take the concealed carry class soon, and even if I don't get my license I'll at least have a better knowledge of guns.
For more information concerning Ohio's CCW permit, class schedules and instructors, visit www.buckeyefirearms.com. The Review also often posts when local classes in the tri-state area are being offered.
(Laura Reed is a desk editor for The Review. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org)