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The number of Ohioans seeking concealed handgun licenses leveled off last year following a spike in 2009 that may have been driven by unfounded fears that President Barack Obama would impose new gun restrictions nationwide.

In 2010, the state issued 47,337 new licenses and renewed 13,544 more, down more than 10,000 from the previous year. In 2009, the state issued 56,691 new licenses and renewed 16,443 more, according to annual reports issued by the attorney general’s office. The 2009 totals were the most ever.

Nearly 250,000 Ohioans have been licensed to carry concealed weapons since 2004, when the state launched its procedure, Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a statement Tuesday.

Neither concealed-carry advocates nor opponents pay much attention to the numbers, members of each group said Tuesday.

Toby Hoover, of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, said the number of licenses grow for a number of years and then level off, only spiking again if people are spooked by terrorism, the economy or rumors that lawmakers could clamp down on gun rights. Hoover said it’s important to remember that only about 3 percent of Ohioans have concealed-carry licenses.

Source: Amanda Garret for The Plain Dealer.

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