Saturday, December 17, 2016

Lake County (OH) Third-Quarter CCW permit revocations four time more than rest of state

Lake County’s 233 concealed carry permit revocations noted during the Ohio Attorney General’s third quarter reporting period is nearly four times the total number of similar revocations for all of the state’s other 87 counties combined.

In all during the third quarter of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s concealed carry permit statistical report, the state revoked the documents of 297 individuals statewide.

Revocations are demanded based upon one or more of several criteria established by the Ohio legislature which approved the enabling law. Among the reasons for revocation are such things as  dying, being declared dependent upon alcohol or drugs, as well as taking a course from an unapproved/improperly certified instructor, or not fulfilling the required minimum time demands for classroom and/or shooting range sessions.

However, the Lake County Sheriff’s Department notes that its 233 revocations helps to illustrate the due diligence and efficiency of its CCW permitting process. In almost every one of the 233 revocation cases the action was the result of an applicant failing to meet the state requirements for being issued such a permit – and that was due almost entirely to one instructor’s lack of properly and lawfully conducting the course.

A similar case of multiple revocations by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department occurred about 18 months ago.  In that incident Joshua M. Herbert of Mentor was then-alleged to have improperly conducted his CCW class.

Herbert pled guilty on October 24th of this year and was sentenced in Lake County Common Pleas Court on December 9th.

Likewise, Herbert pled to a fourth-degree felony charge of “Failure (to) Obtain Concealed Carry Handgun License” in Geauga County Common Pleas Court in August since at least one of his students had obtained his/her/their documents there and which similarly saw them revoked.

Among the judgment stipulations against Herbert were community control with conditions, to serve 60 days of electronic monitoring house arrest, and 21 days in the Lake County Jail, with one day credit for time served.

“Defendant is ordered to pay all costs,” the Lake County Clerk of Court’s ledger also says.

“The defendant is ordered to report to the Jail no later than February 4, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. at which time bond will be released.” The ledger says as well.

Lake County Sheriff’s Department corporal Robert Harps said that “every once in a while” the agency has an instructor who seeks to cut corners by shaving the legislatively approved mandate of six hours of classroom work and two hours of range time.

“We do not tolerate shortened classes,” says Harps, who runs the department’s concealed carry permit program – acknowledged by many CCW instructors as one of the most efficiently run in the Ohio.

While no charges have been filed against the errant instructor in this most recent incident, an investigation continues, Harps said.

As for the 233 individuals who saw their permits revoked, that action still stands because it remains the responsibility of the students to ensure that whatever class program they are involved with meets state code, Harps says.

What this means for this batch of now-former CCW permit holders is not only are they out whatever the class they took cost – typically $100 to $150 – they also had to forfeit the required $67 permit application fee to the Lake (or Geauga) County Sheriff’s Department.

“So if they decide to take the course again they’re really be paying double,” Harps said.

And the cost also impacts the Sheriff’s Department. That is because by state law the agency must send a certified letter to each of the 233 persons notifying them that their permit is being revoked. And the cost for each of those letters is $6.47, Harps said.

“It’s a time-consuming and costly process,” Harps said.

As for the CCW program itself, Lake County’s permitting process machinery is well-oiled, Harps says and as previously mentioned, acknowledged by many local licensed instructors.

Harps said as well that it is important that each prospective CCW student investigates whether the program they are about to take meets state standards and that the instructor likewise has fulfilled his or her lawful obligations.

The sheriff’s department does maintain a list of licensed instructors and it’s best to similarly utilize a course held at a bona fide business where such activity is common, Harps said.

This is a particularly important point because a student who knowingly takes a course from someone not lawfully qualified to instruct or knowingly takes an illegal shortened course can be charged with a forth degree felony, Harps says.

“Often in these cases it is one of the students who let us know of a problem,” Harps said.

As for CCW statistics for Lake County, to date for 2016 the Lake County Sheriff’s office has issued 6,679 new CCW permits along with 1,657 renewals. For 2015 those figures were 4,490 and 2,189, respectively, though Harps did say that because of the way the renewal process is set up that latter number for 2016 will likely swell in 2017.
In terms of Third Quarter figures provided by the Ohio Attorney General, Lake County ranks second in the number of new CCW permits issued at 1,454. The Third Quarter leader was Franklin County (Columbus) with 1,538 new CCW permits being issued. Other counties with more than one thousand CCW permits issued during the Ohio Attorney General’s Third Quarter reporting period included Butler (1,146); Clermont (1,007); Hamilton (1,020); and Montgomery (1,308).

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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