Ohio Gun Laws
- A. State Constitution
- B. Scope of Preemption
- C. Reciprocal Carry
- D. Duty to Inform Officers
- E. NFA Items
- F. Carrying Firearms in Vehicles
- G. Self-defense Laws
- H. Criminal Provisions
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.
A. State Constitution
Regarding the right to bear arms, the Ohio Constitution states:
“The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.”
B. Scope of Preemption
The controlling language of Ohio’s preemption statute is set forth as follows:
“Municipalities shall have authority to exercise all powers of local self-government and to adopt and enforce within their limits such local police, sanitary and other similar regulations, as are not in conflict with general laws.”
(A) The individual right to keep and bear arms, being a fundamental individual right that predates the U.S. Constitution and Ohio Constitution, and being a constitutionally protected right in every part of Ohio, the general assembly finds the need to provide uniform laws throughout the state regulating the ownership, possession, purchase, other acquisition, transport, storage, carrying, sale, or other transfer of firearms, their components, and their ammunition. Except as specifically provided by the U.S. Constitution, Ohio Constitution, state law, or federal law, a person, without further license, permission, restriction, delay, or process, may own, possess, purchase, sell, transfer, transport, store, or keep any firearm, part of a firearm, its components, and its ammunition.
(B) In addition to any other relief provided, the court shall award costs and reasonable attorney fees to any person, group, or entity that prevails in a challenge to an ordinance, rule, or regulation as being in conflict with this section.
(C) As used in this section: (1) The possession, transporting, or carrying of firearms, their components, or their ammunition include, but are not limited to, the possession, transporting, or carrying, openly or concealed on a person’s person or concealed ready at hand, of firearms, their components, or their ammunition. (2) “Firearm” has the same meaning as in § 2923.11 of the Revised Code.
(D) This section does not apply to either of the following: (1) A zoning ordinance that regulates or prohibits the commercial sale of firearms, firearm components, or ammunition for firearms in areas zoned for residential or agricultural uses; (2) A zoning ordinance that specifies the hours of operation or the geographic areas where the commercial sale of firearms, firearm components, or ammunition for firearms may occur, provided that the zoning ordinance is consistent with zoning ordinances for other retail establishments in the same geographic area and does not result in a de facto prohibition of the commercial sale of firearms, firearm components, or ammunition for firearms in areas zoned for commercial, retail, or industrial uses. [http://gunla.ws/ohccw]
C. Reciprocal Carry
By statute, Ohio will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes Ohio’s license:
“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 Attorney General at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur. For information about transporting a firearm within Your vehicle, please follow this link. [http://gunla.ws/oh3]
D. Duty to Inform Officers
A holder of a permit to carry who is in a motor vehicle that is stopped by LEO has a duty to inform any Officer who approached the vehicle that they possess a permit to carry and a concealed weapon.
E. NFA Items
Ohio permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law. It is legal to use suppressors for hunting.
F. 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. [http://gunla.ws/oh4]
G. 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.
H. 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 across a roadway or near a building
- Into a 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 on a school safety zone
- Discharge within 100 yards of a cemetery
- A courthouse, or building where a courtroom is located
- An open air arena
- 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 which federal law prohibits
- Any place where a “no guns” sign is clearly posted
- While under the influence of alcohol or drugs, however, permit holders may now carry concealed weapons at locations that have a Class D liquor license provided the individual is not consuming alcohol while there, or are under the influence. [http://gunla.ws/rurt]
- 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
For a list of places where carrying firearms is prohibited, see: