Russ Geis, 69, is among a growing number of Ohio seniors licensed to carry a concealed firearm. There are no precise numbers, but the Cleveland Plain Dealer says that some local permit data and anecdotal information indicate people over 60 have steadily packed heat since the state’s concealed-carry law passed in 2004. “You are out in a park, riding a bicycle trail and all of a sudden you’re confronted by a drug addict who would kill you for $5,” Geis said. “Are you going to sit there and say, Boy, I hope the police show up?’
About 12 percent of concealed-carry licenses issued since 2005 by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office have been to people 60 and older. Seniors make up almost half of students at concealed-carry license certification classes at one northern Ohio center, said Mike McKenney, who runs the 12-hour courses. Some are recent victims of violent crime. “An 87-year-old woman with a gun is equal to anybody,” McKenney said. Despite the vulnerability older people might feel, there is a “code” among criminals against attacking women, children, and the elderly, said Lt. Reginald Eakins, who’s in charge of the division of the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office that issues concealed-carry licenses.