Ohio Gun Laws

Gun Laws in Ohio

Ohio is a shall-issue state when it comes to carrying handguns. This means that county sheriffs are responsible for issuing concealed handgun licenses at the county level. Unlike many other states, no background checks, permits, or registrations are necessary when buying handguns from private individuals. Furthermore, both open and concealed carry of firearms is legally allowed without any sort of permit. As such, gun owners in Ohio should ensure they familiarize themselves with local laws regarding firearms to ensure their rights are respected.

The gun law states that individuals of twenty-one years of age or more are allowed to obtain a concealed weapons license after at least twelve hours of safety training and demonstrations of handgun competency.

This training must include two hours of practice in a shooting range and ten hours of instruction in a classroom setting, all to be provided through a certified safety instructor. Exams must also be adequately passed–both in shooting form and written form–along with a background check for criminal history. This information will then be submitted and reviewed by the county sheriff’s department. All applicants for concealed weapons permits must be Ohio residents.

Those who have been convicted of drug abuse, have been convicted of a violent misdemeanor offense, or have been convicted of a violent felony offense within three years are not allowed to apply for concealed weapons permits.

Ohio is bordered to the north by Michigan and Lake Erie, which separates Ohio from Canada. To the south, Ohio is bordered by West Virginia and Kentucky, to the west by Indiana, and to the east by Pennsylvania. Ohio has the tenth-largest highway network and is in a prime location for commercial travel.

Ohio Legal Issues

In recent years Ohio has had difficulties with general laws and the merits of concealed weapons. Because of this debate between local law and state law, the new law was set into place to clear up any discrepancies.

All new firearms laws must lie under certain general law guidelines so local law does not conflict with state law. Twenty-six other states have reciprocated Ohio’s statutes including Wyoming, Washington, Virginia, Vermont, Utah, Tennessee, South Dakota, South Carolina, Oklahoma, North Carolina, New Mexico, Montana, Missouri, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana, Idaho, Florida, Delaware, Arizona, and Alaska.

The licenses and permits for these states are the same as or very similar to Ohio’s jurisdiction. Many of these reciprocations became effective as of 2004 and 2005, but some went into effect in the following years. Indiana is the newest addition as of January 2010. Some of these permits are for residents only, while others include the licensing of non-residents.

License to Carry

When a concealed weapons permit has been licensed, it does not mean that the individual has right to carry the firearm wherever he or she pleases. Certain restrictions still remain regardless of the license.

Ohio law allows private property owners to post signs on their property to prohibit firearms. This banning can stand with the law as long as the sign is in clear view for those who enter the property. Firearms are also prohibited from entering government buildings, religious buildings, and hospitals. The entrances of these buildings must clearly state that firearms are not prohibited for this law to be effective.

Concealed weapons are allowed in moving vehicles under certain circumstances: Firearms must be placed in an enclosed box, case, bag, or container with a locking mechanism and be within sight; be in a center console, glove compartment or locked case; or be in a proper holster on the body. Moving vehicles also include motorcycles. Bills have been passed in recent years to allow firearms in moving vehicles without being encased and locked in a container or otherwise placed in plain sight, some of which are beginning to take effect.

Open Carry

Open carry is legal, but you must have a valid permit/license to carry a handgun in a vehicle unless it is unloaded and: carried in a sealed box or case, or in a compartment that can be reached only by leaving the vehicle, or in plain sight and secured in a rack or holder made for the purpose. Places, as listed in the “Criminal Provisions” above, apply to those who open carry. The minimum age to open carry is 18.

Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

Ohio generally prohibits carrying loaded firearms in vehicles without a permit. Someone without a permit may carry a firearm in a vehicle only if it is unloaded and: carried in a sealed box or case, or in a compartment that can be reached only by leaving the vehicle, or in plain sight and secured in a rack or holder made for the purpose.

Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes, so long as you possess a valid concealed handgun license. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then it is suggested that You not carry into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant – You are prohibited from carrying into these areas. You can carry Your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from carrying while you consume alcohol or are under the influence of alcohol.

Self-defense Laws

Ohio has a Castle Doctrine but no SYG law. There is no duty to retreat when in Your dwelling or vehicle. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into Your dwelling or occupied motor vehicle. Note that Ohio is the only state where the burden of proof is on You to prove that You acted in self-defense, except in cases of unlawful entry into Your dwelling or occupied motor vehicle. This means that You may be charged with homicide after using deadly force against an aggressor, and You must then prove that Your use of force was legally justified.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Ohio will recognize another state’s license to carry:

“The attorney general shall negotiate and enter into a reciprocity agreement with any other license-issuing state under which a license to carry a concealed handgun that is issued by the other state is recognized in this state if the attorney general determines that both of the following apply: (a) The eligibility requirements imposed by that license-issuing state for that license are substantially comparable to the eligibility requirements for a license to carry a concealed handgun issued under § 2923.125 of the Revised Code; (b) That license-issuing state recognizes a license to carry a concealed handgun issued under § 2923.125 of the Revised Code.”

Residents of other states who hold a valid carry permit from another state and are visiting Ohio will have their permit recognized during their temporary stay in Ohio, even if their permit is from a state that does not have a reciprocity agreement with Ohio.

Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the Ohio AG at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur.

Criminal Provisions

Under Ohio law, any license to carry a handgun does not permit concealed carry in any of the following places or circumstances:

  • A police station, sheriff’s office, or state highway patrol station
  • Discharge near or across a roadway or near a building
  • Into premises controlled by the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation
  • A state correctional institution, jail, workhouse, or other detention facility
  • An airport passenger terminal
  • Discharge in, at, or in a school safety zone
  • Discharge within 100 yards of a cemetery
  • A courthouse, or building where a courtroom is located
  • A public or private college, university, or other higher education institution, though possession is permitted in the parking areas thereto so long as the handgun remains secured in his vehicle
  • Any church, synagogue, mosque, or other place of worship (unless the establishment permits carry)
  • A child day care facility
  • An aircraft
  • Any government building or facility
  • Any place where federal law prohibits
  • Any place where a “no guns” sign is clearly posted
  • While under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Residents of Ohio may now purchase shotguns, rifles, and ammunition in any other state from licensed firearms dealers, in accordance with federal law and the laws of that state
  • People with a valid carry permit are exempt from background checks when buying guns

FAQs on Ohio Gun Laws

Can you carry a gun in Ohio without a permit now?

No, it is illegal to carry a firearm in Ohio without a valid concealed carry license. Exceptions are made for individuals traveling in a motor vehicle with an unloaded and securely encased firearm or who are actively engaged in hunting or target shooting.

Can you legally carry a gun in your car in Ohio?

Yes, it is legal to transport a firearm in your car in Ohio provided that the weapon is unloaded and securely encased, and the individual transporting the firearm has a valid concealed carry license.

What is the new gun law in Ohio 2023?

As of 2023, House Bill 62 introduced various changes to existing gun laws in Ohio including raising the minimum age for handgun purchases from 18 to 21, mandating background checks for all transactions involving firearms, and requiring that gun owners report lost or stolen guns to law enforcement.

Can I carry an unloaded gun in my car without a permit in Ohio?

Yes, it is legal to transport an unloaded and securely encased firearm in your car without a valid concealed carry permit. However, you must be able to demonstrate that you are either traveling with the firearm or that you have an expressed purpose (e.g. hunting, target shooting).

Is Ohio a stand-your-ground state?

No, Ohio is not a stand-your-ground state. This means that individuals defending themselves using deadly force outside their homes may be held accountable in court if their actions are deemed to have been reckless or unjustified.

Is Ohio a gun-friendly state?

Generally speaking, yes. Ohio has some of the most expansive firearms legislation in the nation and has historically supported gun ownership rights.

Can I have a loaded pistol in my car in Ohio with a permit?

Yes, it is legal to transport a loaded pistol within your car provided that you hold a valid concealed carry permit. When traveling with a loaded handgun, however, your firearm must remain inaccessible to others while you are in your vehicle.

What disqualifies you from owning a gun in Ohio?

In order to legally own a gun in Ohio, you must be of sound mind, at least 21 years old, have no prior felony convictions, and not be subject to any restraining orders due to violence or drug abuse. Additionally, those with mental health issues such as severe depression, suicidal thoughts, or violent behavior can also be prohibited from owning firearms.

How many rounds can you carry in Ohio?

There is no limit on the number of rounds one can possess while carrying a firearm. However, certain types of ammunition such as armor-piercing bullet casings are banned in Ohio.

Can I shoot on my land in Ohio?

Yes, it is legal for individuals with a valid concealed carry license to discharge their weapons on private property provided they do so according to safety regulations and local ordinances.

Can you defend your home in Ohio?

Yes, under Ohio law individuals are permitted to use necessary force when defending their homes from intruders. However, this does not give individuals carte blanche to use lethal force indiscriminately; rather, they must reasonably believe that danger to themselves or another person is imminent.

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