As an “open carry” state, Ohio permits most adults to purchase and openly carry guns without obtaining a license first. However, it’s important to remember that the state does regulate who can be allowed to carry a weapon, where they can take that weapon, and what kinds of weapons can be held without a license in the state. For example, it is prohibited for certain people, such as convicted criminals, to hold a firearm, and certain firearms are also not allowed.
A combination of state and federal gun control laws in Ohio are used to regulate the use and purchase of firearms across the state. State gun laws tend to vary quite a bit, and while Ohio gun laws prohibit certain weapons, they also restrict gun purchases in some cases too.
Laws and Penalties
In Ohio, adults with permission to carry a gun do not need to obtain a permit in order to purchase and openly carry a firearm. However, individuals within Ohio must obtain a license to carry a concealed firearm in their vehicles or on their bodies. What’s more, a criminal background check will be required in order for any individual to have a concealed carry license. Regardless of permits, if a person is stopped by the police in Ohio, he or she must notify the officer of the presence of the firearm.
Naturally, using a firearm in committing a federal offense or felony can significantly affect the way illegal fire arms laws are regarded and how criminals are prosecuted. However, illegal fire arms laws and charges in Ohio often relate to an attempt to smuggle or traffic guns through state lines. In some cases, this can include the selling of guns between states or the importation of guns into Ohio.
The penalties for crimes relating to gun possession and use vary widely according to which statutes have been violated. What’s more, if an individual uses a gun during a crime, that person will be subjected to the mandatory minimum sentences in place according to the federal government, which suggests that there should be a minimum sentence of between five and thirty years for brandishing, possessing, or firing a gun during a violent or drug-related crime.
For violations of weapon laws, Ohio imposes the following penalties:
- Carrying a concealed weapon without licensing is a first-degree misdemeanor with a sentence of up to $1,000, and 180 days in jail.
- Providing a gun to a child or possessing a weapon in a school safety zone is a fifth degree felony punishable by up to twelve months in prison and a fine of $2,500.
- Possession of a fake fun is a first degree misdemeanor
- Possession of an explosive or a firearm by a convicted felon is a felony of the third degree which is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
- Possession of a weapon prohibited under Ohio restrictions is a fifth degree felony.
- Possession of firearms in a bar setting or place selling alcohol is a fifth degree felony if the weapon is carried openly. However, it becomes a third degree felony if the weapon is concealed.
- Using a weapon or carrying a firearm when intoxicated is a first degree misdemeanor
- Possessing a firearm that has been defaced or defacing a firearm is also a first degree misdemeanor. However, subsequent convictions will be punished more severely.
Illegal Fire Arms Defenses
If you are charged for breaking the laws in regards to firearms in Ohio, the defenses that you can launch to protect yourself will depend on your specific conviction. For example, if you are charged with using a weapon, then the Castle Doctrine still applies under Ohio law, which suggests that you should be able to use deadly force in defending yourself, or another person when the person that you are defending against would have otherwise used deadly force against you.
On the other hand, if you are charged with illegally carrying a concealed weapon without a permit, your lawyer may be able to argue that you were not aware that you were carrying the firearm in the first place. A lack of knowledge regarding the existence of the restricted weapon can be used to earn a not-guilty decision in some firearms related cases.
Statute of Limitations
In Ohio, for illegal fire arms cases relating to gun importation or possession, the statute of limitations currently specifies sixty months or five years. However, if a capital crime or violent offense occurs as a result of the illegal firearm use then the defendant may be charged after this time, and prosecuted.
Ohio Illegal Fire Arms Cases
- Hubbard woman and convicted felon charged for illegal firearms purchase
- Richfield Township man charged with illegally selling firearms
- Canton man on parole arrested for possession of gun and ammo
- State prosecutors ask Athens County court to deny motion to suppress evidence in assault and illegal gun purchase case
- Ohio Supreme Court blocks Cleveland’s passage of gun laws tougher than the state law