BATAVIA - A Clermont County firearms instructor is charged with falsifying certificates that area residents used to obtain permits from the sheriff's office to carry concealed handguns.
The sheriff's office is reviewing the business records of David M. Clark, a resident of Sprague Road, Tate Township, to determine how many people obtained bogus certificates.
Anyone who did will have his permit suspended and cannot legally carry a concealed gun in public, said Sheriff A.J. "Tim" Rodenberg.
From at least November until Clark's arrest Friday, the $75 training course cut some corners, Rodenberg said.
Ohio requires at least two hours of training on a firing range, 10 hours in a classroom, and a written and physical test provided by a certified instructor, according to the attorney general's office.
"He cut the training hours in the classroom and in many cases just completely eliminated the range shooting," Rodenberg said.
Those who took classes from Clark should have known whether training was inadequate because they signed applications saying they had read the state requirements, Rodenberg said.
If they don't take a new class from a certified instructor within 30 days of being notified by the sheriff's office, they will have their concealed-carry permits revoked and would have to pay $55 to apply for a new one.
Clark, 48, who was certified as an instructor by the National Rifle Association, has offered training since the concealed-carry law took effect in 2004, Rodenberg said. Deputies conducted an undercover investigation after receiving a tip.
Clark has been charged with four counts of falsification, each of which is punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000, Rodenberg said.
Clark pleaded not guilty Friday before Municipal Court Judge James Shriver. He was released on his own recognizance after his wife, Marsha, co-signed an $8,000 bond. A June 11 hearing is scheduled before Judge Thomas R. Herman.
Rodenberg said it's the first case of its kind in Clermont County, which ranked No. 4 out of Ohio's 88 counties in terms of permits issued last year.
Clermont County issued 1,007 licenses in 2006, topped only by Montgomery County (1,141), Hamilton County (1,085) and Franklin County (1,044), according to the Ohio attorney general's office.