DAYTON, Ohio - Gun-rights advocates say the surge this year in concealed-weapons permits in Ohio is likely due to new laws that make it easier to carry them.
The state's sheriffs issued 18,823 permits to carry concealed weapons in the first three months of 2012. That's about a 40-percent increase from the same period two years ago.
The Dayton Daily News reports that advocates are crediting recent law changes with making it more comfortable for people to carry concealed weapons. That includes allowing them in restaurants and bars that serve liquor, as well as in school safety zones.
Ohio finished 2011 ranked 11th nationally in estimated total active permits and 25th in percentage of the population that holds one. Ohioans have been permitted to carry concealed weapons since 2004.