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Nearly 200,000 Ohioans have been issued a license to carry a concealed handgun since the state’s concealed carry law took effect in April 2004.

Here in Lorain County, since 2004, a total of 5,416 concealed carry licenses have been issued. In 2010 alone, the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office issued 852 new licenses, according to data provided by the Attorney General’s Office and Sgt. Diana Nicholl. In 2009, 798 licenses were issued. The number of new applicants has grown annually since 2006.

Neighboring Huron County issued 234 licenses in 2009, and Erie County’s sheriff issued 1,058.

“I think the consensus is that folks want them so they can, if they so desire, carry a concealed handgun to protect themselves, their loved ones or acquaintances,” Erie County Sheriff Capt. Paul Sigsworth said.

When the law first went into effect, opponents argued there would be more crime and weapons assaults. That has largely proven to not be the case, Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti said.

“We haven’t had any big problems since the law took effect in 2004,” Stammitti said.

Sigsworth said Erie County hasn’t had any major problems either.

Read the rest of Tyler Dugjen’s article at The Morning Journal.

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