Exclusive: Hundreds of CCW permits suspended in Mahoning Valley - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Exclusive: Hundreds of CCW permits suspended in Mahoning Valley

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

In an exclusive report, 21 News has learned that hundreds of CCW permits in the Mahoning Valley, could be invalid.  

That's because there's an on-going investigation by the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Mahoning County Sheriff into the man who may have trained the gun owners.

Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene did confirm that it was his office that discovered a former Youngstown Police Officer was no longer certified as a Firearms Instructor, and therefore no longer qualified to train anyone when it comes to CCW permits. 

Now they're working with BCI to investigate Phil Chance, Junior and ultimately it could lead to criminal charges.

Several sources tell 21 News that there are at least 270 carrying concealed weapons permits or CCW's in Mahoning County alone that could be suspended or revoked.  The Trumbull County Sheriff's Department confirms they have also found some, but did not have a firm number.

Phil Chance, Junior says he was told there may be up to 700 permits in question, including some in Stark County.

Chance resigned from YPD in 2012.  At that time he agreed to forfeit his Ohio Police Officer Training Academy certification and in his own words it was 'permanent and irreversible.'  But what happened to make his status invalid dating back to 2010 is unclear.

Part of the investigation into Chance alleges he not only signed-off on instructing the required CCW course but charged up to a 
$100 fee. Chance denies to 21 News that he ever accepted any money.  

Then there's the question, did he put gun owners through the required class?  Lowellville Police Chief Rick Alli is a certified CCW instructor and says every person wanting a permit has a responsibility to know if their instructor is qualified.    

"One of the things that I would have my students do is go to the Ohio Attorney General's website and you could see that I'd been an instructor for well over 30 years," Alli said.

Chief Alli says a major red flag of someone who is not qualified is if they want your money but just want to sign your form and don't want you to sit through a day-long CCW class.

"You know it's a great responsibility.  Once you have this weapon you must also know how to secure it, you must know how to take care of it, you must know how to properly handle it," Alli said.

By telephone Phil Chance, Jr. said: "He was notified by Major Jeff Allen of the Mahoning County Sheriff's Department on January 9th that BCI is investigating him, and that his firearms certification has expired. He has since retained an attorney."

Chance says he hasn't taught any classes in a long time and was adamant saying he hasn't done anything wrong.

He says he wants to talk to BCI Investigators because Chance says the Sheriff's Department didn't do its due diligence if they put weapons on the street and didn't check training certificates to make sure they were valid.

But Sheriff Greene says it was his staff that discovered the problem in the first place that led to the investigation.  The Sheriff says when the investigation is complete he will have plenty to say.

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