Hello, U.S. LawShield members. It’s Wilkes Ellsworth, your Independent Program Attorney for Ohio. Have you or someone you know been denied their CCW license? This can come as a complete surprise to many people, as is evidenced by how many calls I get from members about this who are dismayed as to why and what they can do about it.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office reported out the first three quarters of 2019, and in those nine months, 1,067 denials of Ohio CCW license applications had been made. Now, that is not a huge percentage and right in line with 2018 totals indicating 1,436 denials were made, with over 69,000 licenses approved and issued.

Regardless of the fact that this is not a huge proportion, it is serious to those of you dealing with the denial. Most of the denials stem from the big three reasons, all of which are disqualifying factors for issuance of the license. These are criminal history, mental illness (including those cases involving extreme drug or alcohol abuse) and finally, temporary protection orders and/or civil protection orders.

First Reason For Denial

First, if you have a conviction for or are currently charged with, or are under indictment for a felony offense or a conviction for a drug-related offense other than a minor misdemeanor, or offense of violence, you will be disqualified immediately upon answering yes to the questions on the application referencing such convictions. If you are in this predicament, you may have the ability to fix the issue and gain your license approval, but it takes a little work.

So what can be done about it? If the conviction is eligible to be sealed or expunged, then there is a remedy. We need to go back to the jurisdiction of the conviction, file the appropriate paperwork with the clerk, and attend a hearing. It can be that simple, depending on the charge and when the conviction occurred.

Once a sealing of the record is granted, you can answer those questions on the application as if the conviction never occurred. I only touched on sealing the record here, so definitely call me to discuss in greater detail, as it may seem overwhelming at first, but really is not, or you can refer to my video from last year, where I go into much greater detail on this topic.

Second Reason For Denial

A second leading reason for denial is because of a current or past mental illness history, or drug or alcohol abuse issue, wherein the court has deemed officially that you suffer or suffered from mental illness.

Essentially the court may have deemed you incompetent for a time and/or involuntarily committed you, if even for a brief period of time, to an institution because of these issues or because of an addiction problem. These are also disqualifying factors and are very difficult to overcome without some intervening fact which changes the nature of the circumstances.

Third Reason For Denial

Finally, we spoke of criminal history as reasons for denial, and domestic violence charges which resulted in conviction or which are currently pending are certainly included therein. But temporary protection orders stemming from these types of cases, or civil protection orders issued through juvenile or domestic relations courts can also have the effect of disqualifying you from being approved for your license.

If you are facing one of these, please take it seriously and defend it as if it were a criminal prosecution, because these can have long standing effects on your ability to carry firearms.

Should you have one issued against you, it would need to be overturned through appeal or withdrawn by the individual who requested before the problem can be alleviated.

If you are denied for any of these reasons above and you feel they are an error, you have the right to appeal. The sheriff must send you a letter indicating you have been denied and the reasons for the denial. Upon receipt, take the necessary steps to clarify the error with the sheriff. Remember, you are dealing with a bureaucracy and mistakes are made. Just because you are denied does not mean they were correct in doing so.

As I indicated earlier, please feel free to call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak with an Independent Program Attorney. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have. I always look forward to speaking with you.


The preceding should not be construed as legal advice nor the creation of an attorney-client relationship. This is not an endorsement or solicitation for any service. Your situation may be different, so please contact your attorney regarding your specific circumstances. Because the laws, judges, juries, and prosecutors vary from location to location, similar or even identical facts and circumstances to those described in this presentation may result in significantly different legal outcomes. This presentation is by no means a guarantee or promise of any particular legal outcome, positive, negative, or otherwise.