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DATA: Kent Home to 11 Percent of CCW Holders in Portage

Almost 600 Kent residents can carry a handgun concealed

It could either be fear of the zombie apocalypse or the simple desire to exercise a given right, but whatever the reason a fair number of Kent residents are practicing their right to carry a concealed weapon.

Kent Patch recently reviewed the list of valid Concealed Carry Weapon permit holders on file with the Portage County Sheriff's Office.

The data show that of the 5,269 valid permit holders in Portage County, 585 of them have Kent addresses. That means 11 percent of the people legally allowed to carry a concealed weapon in Portage County live in the Kent area as of mid May 2012.

The list made available by the sheriff's office did not specify street addresses and instead was categorized by zip code, so the Kent permit holders includes residents who may live in Brimfield or Franklin townships with a Kent postal address.

Somewhat surprisingly, almost triple the number of Kent-area residents who are registered permit holders in Portage County listed an address outside Portage. According to the data, more than 1,600 of the CCW permit holders in Portage County live outside the county in Summit, Cuyahoga, Trumbull, Stark and other Ohio counties.

That means more than 33 percent of the permit holders who registered in Portage actually live outside the county.

If you subtract non-Portage residents, Kent residents with a valid CCW permit account for more than 16 percent of Portage residents who registered for a permit in their home county. The actual number of Kent residents with valid CCW permits could be higher if there are some registered in other counties.

CCW Permits

(as of May 2012)

Totals

Percent

of total

All Portage County

permit holders

5,269 100

County residents

3,617 68

Kent residents

585 11

Non-county residents

1,652 31

Kelly Burns has processed concealed carry handgun permit applications for Portage County since the law permitting the action passed in 2004.

Burns said she's seen a big increase in the number of applications since the first of the year.

"I think people are thinking 'I need to protect myself,'" Burns said.

She pointed to incidents like the recent and a Northeast Ohio Cracker Barrel as potential causes for the recent spike in applications.

"I've been doing this since 2004, and there were periods where we would be busy with applications for a few weeks at a time," Burns said. "And we've picked up tremendously this year. We are booked and have been booked since the first of the year. It's non-stop."

Statewide, 16,823 licenses were issued in the first quarter of this year and 1,300 were renewed, according to the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

Through 2011, Ohio issued 296,588 concealed carry permits since 2004.

As for the non-Portage residents, Burns said word-of-mouth and recommendations from gun certification professionals is the reason why the Portage County sheriff has 5,700 permit holders.

Some facts about CCW permits:

  • Permit applications cost $67 for residents who have lived in Ohio for at least 5 years. The permit applications cost $91 for residents who have lived in the state for less than 5 years.
  • CCW permits are valid for 5 years
  • Applicants with prior convictions on drug, domestic violence or any felony charge are immediately disqualified and ineligible for a permit.
  • CCW permits are approved on a county-by-county basis.
  • If your permit is denied, you can appeal.
  • There are 16 approved concealed-carry instructors in Portage County

For more information about Ohio's concealed carry laws visit the Ohio Attorney General's website.

Myron Holley June 04, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Looks good to me.
Patricia June 04, 2012 at 12:58 PM
I wouldn't get one because if they ever try to take them away the licensed holders will be first.
Bonny Graham June 04, 2012 at 01:20 PM
The law is the law. The question should be, If you choose to carry a gun in Ohio, what do you do with your gun?
Robert Elliott Ingersoll June 04, 2012 at 01:34 PM
I'd like to see what the actual percentage is of those carrying handguns of people who fulfill their fantasies of using the gun to break up a crime in progress. Such realities include problems of accuracy in judgment and shooting skill. Beyond 5-10 yards it is much more difficult to hit a target with any handgun. Also, if you walk into a situation where there seems to be a crime in progress, you have to make the sort of quick decision a police officer is trained to make discerning whether to pull your weapon, aim it and fire it. You might be shooting someone else who walked into the same crime scene and thinks they are doing what you are doing. Lots of variables to consider.
Chris (Kit) Myers June 04, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Well, I know people who have concealed-carry permits and I know that they have received training in the aspects of carrying and using firearms. How many instances have there been where a bystander has been hit by a stray bullet from someone with a permit? I don't read about them in the paper. I really don't think that many permit holders are out there to stop a robbery in a convenience store, where there is no threat of bodily harm to the clerk, by firing their weapon. There are thugs out there on the hiking trails. There are thugs who would walk up to your car and get it with you sitting in a parking lot with intent to steal it, perhaps even kidnap you, rape you, and kill you. You could walk into your house and catch someone raping your daughter or beating up your husband or aged parent in a wheel-chair. One does not necessarily have to fire it, but with threat of bodily harm or death from someone who has no concern whatsoever about your life and limb, it is indeed an equalizer. There are a lot of very nasty people out there. Perhaps we can read on the front page about your mutilated body being found in a ditch along a country road. That's why people carry weapons. It can't happen to you? Think again!
Robert Elliott Ingersoll June 04, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Being paranoid by nature I've thought a lot about it actually. The two times I was the target of an attempted mugging I was able to get away - I was trained to escape if possible before resorting to force. Would I have made the effort to get away if I was carrying a weapon? My concern is I might have used it in the "stand your ground law" sense. Some might say it would serve the attacker right but I'd disagree. As the last blogger noted, there are a lot of "nasty people" out there and I guess everyone has to think through their options and make the choice suited to their situation and temperament. There are the same types of people in societies without conceal and carry laws though. I wonder if the rates of crime or attack are different. We know hands-down that the United States leads developed nations in homicide by firearm. I wonder how many of those are related to self-defense. Anyone know?
Chris (Kit) Myers June 04, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Well, from what I gather from reading the Beacon Journal, a ton of the homicides (I have no idea how many or the percentage of total homicides as a result)) are committed in areas where there is a lot of drug dealing. I won't say that I don't care that drug dealers shoot each other, but one does choose his/her occupation and the hazards involved. I guess that it beats getting an education and working for a living, huh? I do care that innocent people get caught in the crossfire. I would imagine that a very low percentage are committed by law-abiding, notice I said "law-abiding," citizens in self defense since the necessity of firing a weapon at someone is really quite rare. The thing is, the situation CAN arise. Why do we have locks on our doors? Because locks are self-defense. When I grew up on Park Avenue here in Kent in the 1950's people didn't lock their doors. I lived in the same house and began locking the doors when on two occassions in the 1970's I caught people trying to break in. People in the neighborhood would go out in the morning to find their cars broken into. It's a different society today. We have too many kids growing up without good role models and too many single-parent homes where the parent does not have time for nurturing. Families don't talk at mealtime. We have areas where criminality is a way of life for too many people and the good people have no way to stop it. I have run out of space. Thanks for tolerating an old man's ravings.
Rod Taylor June 04, 2012 at 07:34 PM
The decision to exercise your right to keep and BEAR arms for the protection of your self, and family takes a great deal of consideration long before you start the process of obtaining a license. Then you start training, both physically (shooting at the range) and mentally (thinking through different scenarios) often you will find the best action is no action for different reasons. This training needs to be done on a continuing basis throughout the time you have a license. As for "fantasies" of useing a gun for defense, how often do you dream of a head on collision when you use your seat belt? How often do you wish for a fire when you see an extinguisher? If it sounds stupid to you when its not a gun your talking about, then its just as ridiculous when it is one. A gun is used in the same fashion or for the same reason as a seat belt or fire extiguisher, to save a life.
Robert Elliott Ingersoll June 04, 2012 at 07:38 PM
All good points Chris (Kit) - especially the family issues. We saw the same thing in Youngstown where my dad grew up and the changes when I lived there.
Wade June 04, 2012 at 08:40 PM
Hey Patch, what % of Portage county residents live in the area you are counting as Kent. That might put some meaningful perspective on this story's data.
Chris (Kit) Myers June 04, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Excellent question, Wade.
Matt Fredmonsky June 04, 2012 at 10:15 PM
@Wade, I'm a little confused by your question. You mean what percentage of Portage County's total population lives within the Kent zip code? That figure would combine the populations of Kent with Franklin and Brimfield townships and is somewhere around 40,000 residents out of approximately 150,000 or so total Portage residents. But population figures include babies, felons and mentally disabled people, all of whom are unlikely or not permitted to own a weapon.
Wade June 05, 2012 at 12:24 AM
@Matt. Sorry for the confusion. The story is that Kent (and some immediate surrounding areas) hold 11% of the CCW permits. I wonder, and to your point, how does the 11% compare to the total eligible population in Portage. In other words, does Kent have a higher or lower % of its population carrying sidearms when compared to the rest of Portage?
Matt Fredmonsky June 05, 2012 at 01:01 PM
That figure might prove nearly impossible to calculate if not extremely difficult. Ohio law regarding records availability for CCW permit holders stipulates that the records can be viewed but no specific notes may be taken from the records, i.e. you can't write down names and addresses. I was able to count the permits for the total figures listed above and that was quite time consuming. To do so, you would have to count the CCW permit holders in each community. Kent alone took several hours to determine. Plus, the "eligible" population would be even more difficult to determine and would require compiling lists of convicted felons with residences in all Portage communities. That's information I don't have and that the sheriff's office doesn't track, as they simply enter the names onto their list by date of application.
Matt Fredmonsky June 05, 2012 at 01:03 PM
My goal was simply to determine how many gun owners with valid CCW permits in Portage County live in Kent. The percentage comparison was meant to give readers an idea of the larger picture. Comparing Kent, the only college town in Portage and the county's largest city by more than double the size of the second largest community, to other Portage communities (many of which are quite rural) I think would be a bit of an apples to oranges comparison.
Rod Taylor June 06, 2012 at 09:05 AM
Matt, if by your chart the total number of permit holders that reside in Kent, a city that is "more than double the the size of the second largest community", is 11% than if that next largest community had a percentage ranging around 5%-5.5% and so on through the entire county, then the total number of permit holders would be evenly dispersed throughout the county and not overly populating the Kent area or zip code. I think you'll find that to be generally the case and not as I suspect in this case, an article written to alarm unsuspecting residents of the close proximity of "gun totting people" to those "children" at KSU. You know some of the non-resident permit holders are KSU students living off campus who only want to exercise there inalienable right to self defense. If my suspicions are right you should put down your stick and leave that hornet's nest alone. If I'm wrong about your motivations its because oh so many anti-gun interests out there do what you seem to be doing. . . on accident.
Matt Fredmonsky June 07, 2012 at 01:50 PM
@Rod, I did not write this piece to alarm readers. I merely thought readers would find it interesting to know how many CCW holders are in Kent. I am a gun owner (in fact the gun pictured is one of mine) and support gun ownership. I'm merely providing some numbers. It's up to you and the other readers to talk about them as you wish.

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