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Published: Friday, 9/3/2010

Mail-order gun permits

Ohioans who want to walk around armed should apply for an Ohio concealed-carry permit and have to meet this state's standards. It sounds like a no-brainer, but it's not. And that has to change.

Anyone can avoid Ohio's requirements of 12 hours of handgun-proficiency training and inclusion in a law-enforcement database to obtain a permit to carry a concealed firearm. All he or she has to do is apply by mail for a permit from gun-friendly Utah.

Ohio honors Utah's firearms permits, even though that state doesn't insist on a minimum number of hours of training and won't put the permit-holder's name in a database accessible to police and other law-enforcement officers. The Utah permit also costs a couple of dollars less than an Ohio permit for long-term Ohio residents, and is considerably cheaper for Ohioans who have lived here fewer than five years.

Across the country, more than 138,000 people have taken advantage of Utah's lax requirements for a permit to carry a concealed weapon in public places. Only about 2,000 of those people were Ohioans, but that number is bound to rise as word spreads about how easy the Utah permit is to get. Some Ohio groups that offer firearms training have begun advertising their Utah-sufficient courses as a quick way to get a permit honored by a large number of states.

Ohio recognizes out-of-state driver's licenses of people who travel through or stop to visit the Buckeye State. But people who live in Ohio have to have an Ohio driver's license. And people who move here from out of state have 45 days to switch to an Ohio license. Why should a permit to carry a lethal weapon be any different? Obviously, it shouldn't.

State fishing licenses have only very limited reciprocity. Ohio hunting licenses are not reciprocal at all. Why should a concealed-carry permit be any different? Obviously, it shouldn't.

Apologists say Ohio's more-stringent training requirement isn't the reason people opt for the Utah permit. Some people, they say, are reluctant to have their names on a public record of people who can carry a concealed firearm.

Too bad. Ohioans who want to carry a concealed weapon — a bad idea in the first place — should have an Ohio permit, not a permit from the Utah equivalent of a mail-order catalog.



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