Athens County (Ohio) Sheriff Pat Kelly and Chris McCauley, his ” concealed-carry administrator,” aren’t that bright.

Some citizens of Athens County who currently hold concealed-carry weapon (CCW) permits may get an unpleasant surprise the next time they try to renew them.

Athens County Sheriff Pat Kelly recently announced that his office, which handles CCW permit applications for the county, has begun applying an interpretation of state law that may disqualify some current permit-holders from renewing. The Ohio Attorney General’s office, however, has suggested the sheriff may be misreading the law.

Kelly refers to a section of the Ohio Attorney General’s booklet on Ohio’s concealed-carry laws and license application, which lays out the factors that can disqualify someone from getting a permit.

To qualify for a permit, the booklet says, “you must not be under indictment, be charged with, or convicted of any felony. You also must not be under indictment, charged with, or convicted of any offense that involves trafficking in drugs, a misdemeanor offense of violence, or negligent assault.”

The law is rather obviously intended to apply to people who are convicted of specific crimes or who currently face charges for those crimes. For example, if you are charged with domestic violence, you may not get a concealed carry permit while your case is pending in the court system.

Kelly and McCauley are (purposefully?) misreading a section of Ohio’s concealed carry law to deny people concealed carry permits after they have either been found not guilty, plead to a lesser non-disqualifying charge, or had their charges dropped. In effect, they’re claiming that having been charged with the crime is the same as a conviction.

I hope Athens County has money to burn, because they are going to find themselves embroiled in multiple lawsuits over this idiocy.