Dayton Ohio Gun Lawyer
You already know that in the United States, you have a right to bear arms. Nevertheless, your activities involving a firearm might result in severe criminal charges being brought against you. Some things that you might do with a firearm are plainly illegal (e.g. shooting someone because you don’t like them), but there are other, less obvious circumstances involving your ownership, possession, manufacture, transfer, or sale of a gun that might lead the police to come after you when you least expect it. If you are like many in Ohio, then you might not be fully aware of what you can and can’t do regarding firearms, and this lack of awareness can carry devastating consequences.
The reality is that in Ohio and elsewhere in the United States, one seemingly minor misstep involving a firearm could land you a long prison sentence, expensive fine, and a criminal record that never goes away. Critically, if you have been charged with a crime but do not retain an experienced criminal defense attorney, then you might be wrongfully convicted or handed a harsher sentence.
The best thing that you can do is to know Ohio gun laws to avoid getting into trouble, but if that ship has sailed, and you find yourself charged with a gun crime, then you’ll at least want to bring in a dedicated and skilled gun crime attorney who can fight your charges and protect your rights. The experienced criminal defense lawyers at Joslyn Law Firm provide you with this comprehensive overview on gun crimes in Ohio, including what you should do if you have been charged with a criminal offense.
Quick Snapshot Of Gun Laws In Ohio
Firearm, Gun Defined – First off, Ohio considers a firearm a deadly weapon that is capable of expelling projectiles by using an explosion or combustible propellant. Guns, shotguns, and rifles are firearms regardless of whether they are loaded. For purposes of the law, inoperable firearms that are easily able to become operable still count as firearms. Critically, even replica and antique firearms are considered modern firearms if they can easily become operable. Under Ohio law, a handgun is a short stock firearm that is meant to be held and fired with one hand.
Age Requirements – In the State of Ohio, if you are over the age of 18, then you are allowed to buy most types of firearms (e.g. rifle, shotgun). If you are over the age of 21, then you are generally allowed to buy a handgun. Exceptions to the handgun age requirement apply to active duty military members and law enforcement members, and certain others.
Registration, Licensure – You aren’t required to register your firearm in Ohio. You also don’t need a license to openly carry a firearm. However, you need a license to carry a concealed handgun in public. Put more simply, no license is necessary unless you aim to conceal your gun while in public. Since Ohio is a shall certify state, you are entitled to a concealed carry license (also known as a CCL license or CHL license) if you are not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm. This is not like other states where law enforcement officers can arbitrarily deny your concealed carry license application. Generally, in Ohio, you stand to get your application approved within 45 days if the following requirements are met:
- You are over the age of 21
- You complete 8 hours of training
- You haven’t been convicted of a domestic violence offense
- You haven’t been charged or convicted of a felony
- You haven’t been charged or convicted of a violent misdemeanor or drug trafficking
- Your concealed carry license hasn’t been suspended in another state
- You haven’t falsified a concealed carry license
- You haven’t been convicted of assaulting a police officer or resisting arrest
- You meet all federal law requirements
To obtain a firearm, you could buy one from a licensed dealer after being cleared through a background check, or you could alternatively buy a firearm in a lawful private party transaction (e.g. your friend sells you their gun). Once you obtain your gun, rifle, shotgun or other firearm, then you’ll want to be a responsible firearm owner to avoid problems with the law. Here’s what this means:
- Getting sufficient firearms training
- Never using your firearm in an offensive or otherwise illegal manner
- Making sure that you transport your firearm in the proper manner
- Making sure that you have a CCW license before carrying a concealed firearm on your body
- Not taking your firearm to any location in which firearms are prohibited
- Not firing your gun when you are in a motor vehicle on public roads
If You Are Charged With A Gun Crime In Ohio
All too often, law-abiding gun owners get arrested after being suspected of committing a gun-related offense. In fact, even when you carry your gun in a lawful manner, you might still be arrested and charged with an offense. Should this ever happen to you, get in touch with an experienced gun crime lawyer for guidance and direction.
Getting convicted on a gun crime can ruin your life as you know it. You might end up in prison for a long time. You might have to pay an awfully expensive fine. A conviction can also severely hamper your ability to possess a firearm again. Further, but a conviction means having a criminal record which could follow you around forever. There is a lot at stake if you are charged with a gun crime in Ohio.
Ohio Gun Crime Attorney
Fortunately, the experienced gun crime lawyers at Joslyn Law Firm know how to fight gun charges. We will take the time to thoroughly review the circumstances of your case. We will uncover the soundest defensive strategies to unleash in order to help place you in the best position possible given your circumstances. Joslyn Law Firm is devoted to defending those who are charged with gun crimes in Ohio. We will help ensure that your rights are protected, and that overzealous police and prosecutors don’t overstep their authority in an attempt to ruin you. So, if you have been charged with an offense, get in touch with us by calling (614) 444-1900 or by contacting us online for a free consultation.
- Gun Crime Information Center
- Owning A Firearm Is Your Constitutional Right
- Dayton Ohio’s Concealed Carry Laws
- Firearms Crimes When You Have A License To Carry
- Most Common Types Of Gun Crimes In Dayton Ohio
- Gun Specifications
- Most Common Federal Gun Crimes
- Dayton Ohio Penalties For Gun Crime Conviction
- Collateral Consequences For A Gun Crime Conviction
- Defending Against An Alleged Gun Crime
- Frequently Asked Questions About Gun Crimes
- Guns, Weapons, Firearms Resources
- Recent Gun News; Articles
The United States Constitution and the Ohio Constitution both protect your right to bear arms for your defense and security. However, your right to bear arms could be taken away – the right is not absolute, contrary to common belief. Not only that, but under federal law and Ohio law, your right to bear arms doesn’t mean that you can ignore regulations regarding use, possession and sale of firearms and ammunition. Many laws surrounding guns have been upheld in court despite constitutional challenges.
Firearm Restrictions In Dayton Ohio
In Ohio, there are laws regulating your purchase, manufacture, use, transport and sale of firearms. For example, no firearm dealer in the State of Ohio is allowed to sell you a firearm if you are under the age of 18. They cannot sell you a handgun if you are under the age of 21 unless you are an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces, a police officer, or are using the handgun for hunting, educational or sporting reasons.
Here are some things that you cannot do as it relates to firearms in Ohio:
- Carry a concealed handgun or firearm without a permit
- If stopped by the police, fail to tell them that you have a concealed handgun on you
- If stopped by the police, fail to follow their instructions of keeping your hands in plain sight
- Possess a firearm at a bar or another place that is licensed to sell alcohol
- Possess a firearm in a courthouse, school, church, or airport
- Discharge your firearm while in a motor vehicle
- Discharge your firearm into a school, home, apartment or hotel
- Carry or use a firearm when you are intoxicated
- Falsify a concealed carry license
- Destroy or alter a firearm’s serial number
Moreover, in Ohio, you are not allowed to acquire, possess, use or carry a firearm if you are on a firearms disability. A firearms disability applies to certain people including chronic alcoholics, felony drug offenders, violent felons, drug addicts, fugitives, and those who have been declared by a court to be incompetent or mentally ill.
Ohio’s Open Carry Laws
Ohio is an open carry state. This means that if you lawfully possess a firearm, then you can openly carry the firearm without ever having to get a license or permit. Openly carrying means that your firearm is not concealed; it is visible to others. As an example, you keep your gun in a side holster that is located outside of your jacket or clothing – not tucked away.
In Ohio, you are allowed to transport an unloaded handgun in your motor vehicle without a concealed carry permit. But the firearm must be stored in a container that you cannot easily reach without leaving your motor vehicle. As an example, you store your gun in a roof rack or in your trunk. Moreover, you cannot store your gun in the same place as your ammunition.
Another thing to keep in mind is that private businesses are well within their rights under Ohio law to prohibit your carrying of firearms into their premises. Notably, you could be charged with a crime for carrying a firearm on private property if a visible sign on that property prohibits the presence of firearms. But as an employee in Ohio, you cannot be prevented by your employer from keeping your firearm secured in your car should your car be located on their parking lot.
Seemingly minor details separate you from carrying your weapon in a lawful manner versus carrying your weapon in a legally prohibited manner. Be incredibly careful with openly carrying firearms or other weapons to avoid getting charged with public disruption, assault or other crimes. If you follow open carry laws, it can also reduce public misunderstanding, public discord, panic and even unlawful police stops. Of course, if you want to avoid public misunderstandings and causing panic everywhere you go, then you might want to consider getting a concealed carry license.
Concealed Carry Licenses In Dayton Ohio
Under Ohio law, you are not allowed to carry a concealed handgun on your body (or in something within reach such as a backpack or purse) unless you have a concealed carry license (also known as concealed carry permit, CCW license, or CHL license). To obtain an Ohio concealed carry license, you must meet these requirements:
- You have to be over the age of 21
- You must live in Ohio or be employed in Ohio
- You must be a citizen of the United States or a lawful permanent resident
- You have to complete a firearm safety training with a certified instructor (range-time training; written test; competency training)
- You must pass a criminal background check
- Your concealed carry license can’t have been denied in another state
- You can’t be addicted to alcohol or drugs
- You can’t be dishonorably discharged from the United States Armed Services
- You can’t be a felon
- You can’t be convicted of a domestic violence offense
- You can’t be mentally incompetent as determined by the court
- You can’t be subject to a civil protection order (e.g. restraining order)
Keep in mind that if you are an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces who is under the age of 21, then you are allowed to buy and carry a concealed handgun; however, you’ll need proof that you are on active duty. You’ll also need to show that you’ve completed firearms training in the military.
Your right to bear arms in Ohio stems from the United States Constitution and the Ohio Constitution. In fact, Ohio is known as a pro-gun state and lax open carry state.
Your Right To Bear Arms According To The United States Constitution
The United States Constitution is the law of the land. The Bill of Rights contains the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Second Amendment concerns your right to keep and bear arms.
In fact, your right to bear arms stems from the English Bill of Rights of 1689. Before the English Bill of Rights was adopted, religious tensions in England ran high. Evidently, the King favored a particular religious denomination. If you did not subscribe to his preferred religious denomination, then he tried to take your guns away.
At the conclusion of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the new King and Queen executed the English Bill of Rights which contains a right to keep and bear arms for self-defense. Notably, this right serves to protect people and their loved ones from those who aim to commit violence against them or who aim to destroy their property. Although the United States stopped following British rule following the American Revolution, our legal system is founded on British rule and has been heavily influenced by it.
No court in the United States can allow a law to stand if it violates the United States Constitution. As an example, in District of Columbia v. Heller, the United States Supreme Court found that District of Columbia’s handgun ban and trigger-lock requirement violated the Second Amendment. The Supreme Court struck that law down for being unconstitutional.
Remember, your Second Amendment right to bear arms is not an absolute right. Federal laws and Ohio laws are put in place to ensure responsible gun ownership. As an example, concealed weapons prohibitions have withstood constitutional attacks. Laws banning felons and mentally ill people from owning guns have withstood constitutional attacks. Laws banning firearms in certain locations have stood up in court. Courts have found that those laws do not violate the Second Amendment.
Your Right To Bear Arms According To The Ohio Constitution
The Ohio Constitution contains a right to bear arms. In fact, the Ohio Constitution, which mirrors the United States Constitution, states that the people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security. Ohio law aims to balance citizens’ interests of using guns to protect themselves with the government’s interest in regulating guns for public safety. In other words, Ohio’s gun laws are intended to decrease the risk that someone uses a firearm for all the wrong reasons, or that the wrong person gets a hold of a gun. Nevertheless, gun regulation is still a hot button issue in today’s society.
You Don’t Need A License To Own, Buy A Gun In Dayton Ohio
Under the laws of the State of Ohio, when you aim to purchase a gun, you are presumed by the state to be seeking that gun for lawful purposes. For this reason, as a resident in Ohio, you are not compelled to get a license to purchase or own a legal firearm. You are not precluded from buying guns, shotguns, rifles or other firearms in neighboring states including West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky and Indiana. Also, neighboring states’ residents are allowed to buy firearms in The Buckeye State.
Keep in mind that your right to buy firearms in Ohio without a license does not mean that you can buy firearms without restriction. Not only that, but the state could take away your gun rights in certain circumstances. Generally, to own a firearm in Ohio, you have to meet these requirements:
- You need to be over the age of 18 to buy a firearm
- You need to be over the age of 21 to buy a handgun (limited exceptions apply to those who are members of law enforcement or the military)
- You need to be a resident, property owner, or employee in Ohio to buy a firearm, and you’ll have to provide proof of your status (e.g. proof of address, property tax records, state-issued identification) before you can obtain the firearm
- You need to comply with a criminal background check and additional questioning
Keep in mind that you don’t have to satisfy a waiting period to buy a gun in Ohio unless a background check shows that further investigation into your criminal record is required. Also, there isn’t any firearms registration database in Ohio, so you don’t have to register your firearm in the state. However, federal law might require you to register your firearm depending on which type of firearm you buy.
Since Ohio is an open carry state, once you buy your firearm, you will be allowed to openly carry it without a license. Not only that, but you’ll be allowed to transport the firearm in your car without a concealed carry license as long as you comply with the following requirements:
- You are legally allowed to own the firearm
- Your firearm is not loaded
- You are transporting your firearm in a closed case, box or package; in a place that you can only reach through exiting the vehicle (e.g. the truck of your car); or in a holder or gun rack
- Your ammunition and your firearm are stored in separate locations
You are not required to have a license to buy or openly carry a firearm in Ohio. However, you must have a concealed carry license if you wish to carry a concealed gun. Specifically, carrying a concealed firearm means that portions of that firearm are concealed to the naked eye. It is common for people to carry a gun by placing it in a concealed holster, in a purse or under their jacket.
Remember that concealed carry regulations are strict for several reasons. Mainly, the regulations seek to reduce the risk of a surprise attack. Also, historically, firearms that have been used in self-defense (the reason why guns are allowed in the first place) are openly carried – not concealed. Still, in public, concealed carrying is the preferred route. This is because openly carrying a gun in public could create panic and fear in those who are in the presence of the gun holder. Concealed carrying avoids public confusion about the gun holder’s intentions.
Keep in mind that if you have been issued a concealed carry permit or license by another state, then as long as that state’s laws are substantially similar to Ohio’s regulations on concealed carry licenses, then your out-of-state concealed carry permit or license can be used in Ohio. In fact, Ohio recognizes concealed handgun licenses of non-residents regardless of whether there is any reciprocity between Ohio and the non-resident’s home state.
Meeting The CCW License Requirements In Ohio
If you seek to carry your firearm in a concealed fashion in Ohio (e.g. in your jacket; partially concealed on your body; in your purse), then you’ll need to get a permit. Failing to get this permit could lead to criminal charges to the extent that the police discover that you have a firearm on you. Ohio is a shall certify state for a concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit – but that doesn’t mean that everyone is entitled to this permit.
Specifically, you cannot get a CCW license if you are under the age of 21. That is why you have to be over the age of 21 to buy a handgun in the first place. Also, you cannot get a CCW license in Ohio if you don’t work there or live there. You can’t get a CCW license without proper training. In fact, even if you satisfy Ohio’s requirements on getting a CCW license, if you have a criminal history, then you might not be granted one. Specifically, you might be denied a CCW license if any of the following shows up on your background check:
- You are accused of having falsified a CCW license
- Your CCW license in another state has been suspended
- You are subject to a protective order anywhere in the United States
- You’ve been convicted of a domestic violence offense or a related offense
- You’ve been convicted of a drug offense
- You’ve been charged with drug trafficking and your case is ongoing
- You’ve been convicted of a felony
- You’ve been charged with a felony and your case is ongoing
- You’ve been convicted of assaulting a police officer
- You’ve been convicted of a violent misdemeanor within the last three years
- You’ve been convicted of assault or negligent assault in the last five years
- You’ve been convicted of resisting arrest in the past 10 years
How Do I Get A Concealed Carry Handgun License In Dayton Ohio?
If you think that you will pass a background check and that you meet the qualifications to get a CCW license, then you should take the appropriate steps to get your CCW license. Keep in mind that the process to get a CCW license is not all that complicated, but you will still want to make sure that you do the right things to avoid any delays or complications. Here’s what you should do to increase your chances of getting your CCW license:
- Get to know the CCW manual that has been issued by Ohio’s Attorney General
- Get in touch with a state-certified CCW training instructor so that you can complete your required firearm training course
- Gather all of your appropriate documentation (the completed application; your certificate of completion of a firearm training course; your application fee; and your passport-sized photo)
- Take all of your documents to the sheriff’s office in your locality
- Get your fingerprints taken
Within 45 days of applying for your CCW license, you should know whether your application has been approved or rejected. To the extent that the state approves your application, then you’ll be able to carry a concealed handgun in Ohio. Going forward, to avoid problems, consider the following:
- Keep something in your wallet to remind you of the essential laws on carrying a concealed handgun in Ohio
- Regularly review Ohio’s CCW laws including gun safety laws; where your handgun license is not valid; transporting your gun; encounters with the police; and places where carrying is forbidden
- Get to know others who have CCW licenses who can answer your concerns or questions
- Touch base with an experienced gun crime attorney if you run into any problems
How Do I Renew My CCW License?
In Ohio, your CCW license is valid for five years. Once five years has elapsed, you’ll have to apply for the renewal of your license. You’ll be able to submit an application to renew your license 90 days prior to your current license expiring. The same application that you initially completed is used for renewing your license. However, you’ll indicate in the application that you are submitting a renewal application. Follow these steps to make sure that your renewal goes as planned:
- Submit your renewal application to your local sheriff’s office
- Show your photo identification and your current CCW license to the sheriff’s office
- Get your fingerprints taken for purposes of the background check
- If you have been determined by a court to be mentally incompetent or have been involuntarily hospitalized or institutionalized, and you have since recovered, then provide the sheriff’s office with a certificate of remission
To the extent that you have not taken the proper steps to renew your CCW license, and it expires, then you will not be able to carry a concealed handgun in Ohio. So, if your license expired and you have since applied to have it renewed, then don’t carry a concealed handgun in the meantime. If you do, you could be arrested and criminally charged.
If you follow the law when buying a gun and obtaining a concealed carry license, this does not mean that you now can do whatever you want with your handgun. You don’t have an absolute right to bear arms in public, for example. In fact, in Ohio, there are certain places where you are not allowed to carry a gun irrespective of whether it is concealed. Unless you are a member of law enforcement or are a security officer, then you cannot carry a firearm in the following locations:
- Courthouses – it is against the law for you to bring your firearm into a municipal, state or federal courthouse. You aren’t allowed to bring a gun into any place where there are legal proceedings taking place (e.g. a community center).
- Educational Institutions – you can’t bring your gun into a college campus, school zone, or any school in the State of Ohio. This prohibition applies regardless of whether it is a public or a private school, and it also applies on school busses.
- Airports – It is unlawful in Ohio for you to bring your firearm into an airport’s secured premises. But you are allowed to bring your firearm into the unsecured area (e.g. ticketing counter; baggage claim area). If you have a CCW license, and you mistakenly bring your gun through security, you must be provided with the option to leave the airport with your gun. Obviously, if you don’t heed the warning from security personnel, you will be arrested. If you do heed the warning, you will not.
- Private Property – If a property owner places a sign on their property prohibiting guns, then it is against the law for you to bring your gun onto that private property. The sign prohibiting your gun on the property must be visible (e.g. a sign on the front door of the establishment) for this prohibition to take hold. Even without a posted sign, a private property owner or their representative can ask that you remove your firearm from their property, and if you don’t comply, you could be arrested and charged with a misdemeanor offense. Keep in mind that guns are often prohibited in restaurants, sporting events, hospitals, places of worship, amusement parks, and prisons.
Although you may have a CCW license in Ohio, you don’t want to cross the line by bringing your gun into the wrong place. However, if you happen to make this mistake, or you are otherwise charged with a gun crime, then you should contact a skilled Ohio firearms lawyer. Critically, if you are charged with an offense of this nature, it can impact your ability to buy a gun or your ability to retain your license, so it is important for you to have a trained professional in your corner to defend you against these charges.
Unfortunately, many people assume that their right to bear arms is absolute. Even the most well-educated people make mistakes when it comes to guns, and these mistakes can carry severe consequences. Remember that there are state and federal laws that regulate your possession, use, carrying and transport of weapons. If you are suspected by the police of violating gun laws, then you might be criminally charged. Here’s the possible gun crimes that you might be charged with in Ohio.
Improper Handling Of A Firearm In A Vehicle
You are disallowed in Ohio from discharging your firearm when you are in a motor vehicle (e.g. car, truck, motorcycle). Also, it is unlawful for you to carry or transport a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle where anyone who is in the vehicle could potentially gain access to the firearm. If your aim is to comply with the law, then be sure that your firearm is not loaded and that it is tucked away in a compartment or closed case that cannot be reached from inside of the vehicle.
- If you discharge a firearm in your vehicle, you commit a fourth-degree felony offense
- If you mishandle your firearm in your vehicle during a time that you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you commit a fifth-degree or fourth-degree felony offense
- If you improperly transport your firearm in a vehicle, you commit a fourth-degree misdemeanor offense
Carrying A Concealed Gun Without A License
In Ohio, it is against the law for you to knowingly carry a concealed handgun without having a valid CCW license. Carrying a concealed handgun without a license could be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor; however, depending on the circumstances, it may be charged as a felony.
Specifically, you face a fourth-degree felony charge if you have a prior concealed carry conviction, you were previously convicted of a violent crime, your firearm was loaded (or the ammunition was within reach), or the weapon was a deadly ordnance.
Notably, even if you have a current concealed carry license, you may still be charged with a crime if you interact with the police in the wrong way. This includes:
- If stopped, failing to keep your hands in plain sight and away from your firearm
- If stopped, failing to tell the police officer that you have a concealed firearm on you and that you have a CCW license
- Touching your firearm unless you are acting on instructions from the police officer
- Failing to abide by the police officer’s lawful orders
Having A Gun When You Are On A Weapons Disability
In Ohio, you are not allowed to have weapons while under disability. Specifically, a disability according to state law means:
- You are charged or convicted of a felony offense, drug offense, domestic violence offense, or a violent misdemeanor
- You are a fugitive from justice
- You are dependent on drugs
- You are a chronic alcoholic
- A court determined that you are incompetent
- A court determined that you have a mental defect
Also, federal law considers you to have a weapons-based disability if:
- You have been convicted of a crime that carries a jail sentence exceeding one year (this is the case with felony offenses)
- You are a fugitive
- You have been convicted of a domestic violence offense irrespective of whether it is a misdemeanor or felony
- You are subject to a protective order
- You are unlawfully using controlled substances or other illegal drugs
- You are addicted to controlled substances or other illegal drugs
- You are unlawfully residing in the United States
- You have a nonimmigrant visa
- You have renounced your citizenship in the US
- You have been dishonorably discharged from the United States Armed Forces
Possessing a firearm while on a weapons-based disability amounts to unlawful possession of a firearm. In Ohio, unlawful possession of a firearm is a third-degree felony.
Possession Of Criminal Tools
If you control or possess any instrument, article, substance or device with the purpose or intention of using it to commit a crime, then you could be charged with possessing criminal tools. Any type of weapon applies to this type of offense.
In Ohio, possession of criminal tools is generally considered a first-degree misdemeanor. However, if you intend on using the criminal tools to commit a felony, then this offense could be charged as a fifth-degree felony.
Use Of A Weapon While Intoxicated
In Ohio, you are prohibited from using or carrying a firearm if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It doesn’t matter if you have a CCW license. This offense is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio.
Possession Of A Defaced Firearm
If you deface a firearm or you possess a defaced firearm, then this is construed as a first-degree misdemeanor offense in Ohio. Basically, defacing a firearm means altering or removing identifying information on the firearm (e.g. model, make, serial number).
Use Of A Prohibited Firearm On A Boat
In all of Ohio’s waterways, you are not allowed to transport a loaded gun on a boat or other watercraft when the firearm is accessible to anyone on the watercraft. Also, with limited exception, you are not allowed to knowingly fire your gun on a watercraft. Unlawfully transporting firearms on a boat is a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
Improper Discharge Of A Firearm
You could be criminally charged with improperly discharging a firearm in certain locations. This includes:
- A school safety zone
- An occupied place (home, apartment, hotel)
- Within 1,000 feet of any school building or school premises, or at any school function or activity, when you have the intent of causing panic, fear or harm
If you improperly discharge a firearm in this context, you could be charged with a second-degree felony.
Possession Of A Deadly Weapon In A Court
If you carry your firearm or other deadly weapon into a courthouse, then this constitutes a fifth-degree felony. Notably, you could still be charged with this offense if you have a CCW license.
Possession, Conveyance Of A Deadly Weapon In A School Safety Zone
If you bring your firearm (or something that is not distinguishable from a firearm) into a school safety zone, then you could be charged with a fifth-degree felony offense. Critically, you don’t get a free pass to bring your gun into a school safety zone just because you have a concealed carry license.
Possession Of A Deadly Weapon In A Bar
In Ohio, it is unlawful for you to possess a firearm in any place with a liquor permit where people are consuming alcohol. This includes bars and restaurants. If you possess your firearm in this type of place, you could be charged with a firth-degree felony. However, if you conceal your gun in a bar or restaurant, you might be charged with a third-degree felony.
In certain instances, you face more severe punishment for a gun crime. Basically, in Ohio, gun specifications are add-ons to felony sentences. A specification could mean that you have to serve additional time behind bars. Here are some of the common specifications that might apply in your gun crime case:
- You have a gun on you when you commit a felony offense – your jail sentence is increased by one year
- You display or brandish your firearm during the commission of a felony (e.g. you flash your gun to a bank teller in the course of robbing a bank) – your jail sentence is increased by three years
- You fire your weapon from your car (e.g. a drive-by shooting) – your jail sentence is increased by five years
- You use a silencer on your gun when committing a felony – your jail sentence is increased by six years
- You use an automatic weapon when committing a felony – your jail sentence is increased by six years
Critically, if you are charged with aggravated assault, robbery or another serious felony offense, and the prosecutor happens to allege a specification, then your defense attorney will need to address both the felony charge and the specification. So, even if you are convicted of the offense, it is still possible for your attorney to successfully challenge the specification which could in turn reduce your jail sentence.
Firearm offenses don’t just get prosecuted by the State of Ohio. It is possible for the federal government to arrest you and charge you with a crime. Specifically, a federal prosecutor could charge you with a federal gun offense, and that would mean that your case is tried in a federal court – not state court.
It is important to understand that federal courts don’t operate with the same procedures and laws used by Ohio’s state courts. This is why if you are facing federal criminal charges, you don’t just want to hire any attorney. You’ll need an experienced criminal defense attorney who is well-versed on both state and federal offenses. Joslyn Law Firm is comprised of skilled criminal defense attorneys who routinely defend clients who are charged with federal offenses and tried in federal courts. Our attorneys are ready to evaluate your case and help you determine the best way to proceed.
Before you are charged with a federal offense, in many cases, you are investigated. The federal government relies upon several agencies to investigate potential offenses. The two most popular agencies are the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). Agencies of the United States have considerable budgets to investigate those who are under suspicion of committing federal offenses. After agents obtain evidence on you, they will hand over their file to the Office of the United States Attorney (USAO), who determines whether to bring criminal charges against you.
Remember that if you are ever contacted by a federal enforcement agent who is investigating a firearms incident, there is a good chance that you are a possible target of their investigation. These individuals might seem friendly, but their demeanor is often designed to elicit information from you. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you can speak freely to those agents without first consulting with an attorney. Critically, you might be told by those agents that you will not face charges as long as you talk to them; however, these statements often amount to empty promises.
So, if a federal agent – or any agent for that matter – contacts you for information, then it is recommended for you to respectfully decline to speak with them, and to contact an experienced federal gun crime lawyer to provide you with much-needed direction during this time. You might ultimately speak with these agents after receiving guidance from your attorney – but you should never do so without running your situation by your attorney first.
Prohibited Person’s Possession Of A Firearm
According to federal law, you are not allowed to possess a firearm if you are on a disability. You are on a disability in these circumstances:
- You are convicted of a felony offense
- You are a fugitive from justice
- You are convicted of a domestic violence offense
- You are unlawfully using controlled substances
- You are committed to a mental institution
- You are hooked on drugs or alcohol
- You have renounced your citizenship in the United States
- You have been dishonorably discharged from the military
In order for you to face federal charges for prohibited possession of a firearm, you generally have to possess or transport your firearm from one state to another (across state lines). So, if you are possessing or transporting your firearm only in Ohio, then you might face state—not federal—charges for possessing a gun on disability. To the extent that you are charged with a federal offense of this nature, then you face up to ten years behind bars. Moreover, if you provide a firearm to a prohibited person, then you face up to ten years behind bars.
Theft Of Firearms, Explosives, Ammunition
It is obviously unlawful to steal firearms, explosives, or ammunition from a firearms dealer. However, it is also unlawful to receive, conceal, sell, store, or possess firearms, explosives or ammunition that you know to be stolen. This federal offense is punishable by up to ten years in prison.
Possession Of A Firearm In A School
If you have a firearm in a school zone, then you could face criminal charges on a federal level – not just a state level. Limited exceptions to this law apply, and they pertain to those who are authorized to be on school property with a firearm (e.g. a police officer, a school security guard). This offense is punishable by five years in prison.
Possession, Manufacturing Of Prohibited Weapons
Certain types of firearms and other weapons are typically illegal to have or make without federal approval. This includes:
- A machine gun or a fully automatic firearm
- A semi-automatic weapon
- A sawed-off rifle that is shorter than 26 inches (or which has a barrel shorter than 16 inches)
- A sawed-off shotgun that is shorter than 26 inches (or which has a barrel shorter than 18 inches)
- A firearm whose serial number has been altered or destroyed
- A firearm silencer
- A destructive device
The offense of possessing a prohibited weapon is punishable by up to ten years in prison.
Possession, Use, Carrying Of A Firearm In Connection With A Drug Felony
Under federal law, you could receive an additional mandatory minimum sentence to the extent that you use, possess or carry a firearm or other deadly weapon when committing a felony drug offense (e.g. drug trafficking). Your specific punishment depends on the type of weapon that you have and how you use the weapon. Here are some possible penalties that you might face:
- If you possess, use or carry a firearm while committing a drug trafficking crime, you face a minimum of five years in prison, and a maximum of life in prison
- If you brandish (flash) your firearm while committing a drug trafficking crime, you face a minimum of seven years in prison, and a maximum of life in prison
- If you have a short-barreled shotgun or rifle, a sawed-off shotgun or rifle, or a semi-automatic assault weapon while committing a drug trafficking crime, you face a minimum of ten years behind bars, and a maximum of life in prison
- If you have a destructive device, firearm silencer or a machine gun while committing a drug trafficking crime, you face a minimum of 30 years in prison, and a maximum of life in prison
Repeat offenders are handed a lengthier mandatory minimum prison sentence. With some repeat offenses, your mandatory minimum sentence could be 25 years. However, in the second instance of using a destructive device, firearm silencer or a machine gun while committing a drug trafficking crime, your mandatory minimum prison sentence could be life behind bars.
Moreover, to the extent that you face drug trafficking charges on a federal level, it is likely that a prosecutor will attempt to add on weapons charges. Those additional charges could make your situation go from bad to worse, so it is essential that you get in touch with a skilled defense attorney who can aggressively fight your charges.
Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA) Charges
Under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA), you face enhanced penalties if you have three prior drug-related or violent felony convictions on your record. Specifically, with having three prior offenses on your record, a conviction on a new offense will carry at least a 15-year mandatory minimum prison sentence. Moreover, if you have a weapon on you while committing a drug offense, this could result in a gun bump. Basically, if you are not convicted under the Armed Career Criminal Act, then prosecutors can use a gun bump as a way of enhancing your sentence for your underlying drug offense.
To the extent that you are convicted of a gun crime, or you plead guilty or no contest to the charges, then the punishment that you face depends on several factors including:
- The type of charge
- The type of weapon
- The location in which the offense occurred
- The circumstances of the offense
- Whether your gun offense occurred in connection with another offense
- Whether you have prior convictions on your record
- Whether you had a valid CCW license
Punishment for committing a crime in Ohio involves a possible jail or prison sentence, probation, fines and more. The reality is that some gun crimes are considered low-level offenses (e.g. a fourth-degree misdemeanor punishable by a 30-day prison sentence and $250 fine) while other offenses are extremely serious (e.g. a first-degree felony punishable by an 11-year prison sentence and $20,000 fine).
Critically, seemingly minor details could separate you from being charged for a low-level misdemeanor or a high-level felony. For this reason, regardless of which crimes you are charged with, it is particularly important for you to put forth the strongest defensive possible. Even minor offenses can carry consequences that take a serious toll on your life.
Here’s a breakdown of the jail sentences and fines that might be imposed for a gun crime in Ohio:
Charge Max Imprisonment Max Fine
Fourth-degree misdemeanor 1 month $250
Third-degree misdemeanor 2 months $500
Second-degree misdemeanor 3 months $750
First-degree misdemeanor 6 months $1,000
Firth-degree felony 12 months $2,500
Fourth-degree felony 18 months $5,000
Third-degree felony 5 years $10,000
Second-degree felony 8 years $15,000
First-degree felony 11 years $20,000
If you are convicted on a gun charge, or you plead guilty or no contest to the charge, then the judge will impose a sentence which could include jail time, fines and more. After completing all the requirements of your sentence, you might find yourself continuing to deal with the fallout. Specifically, collateral consequences of a criminal conviction could involve a host of things, including:
- Loss of voting rights
- Damage to your career
- Loss of your right to buy, possess, own or carry a firearm
- Loss of your ability to obtain a professional license
- Revocation of your professional license
- Inability to obtain financial aid or public benefits
- Inability to hold a public office position
- Inability to gain entry into an educational program
- Expulsion from an educational program
- Deportation (if you are a non-citizen)
- Inability to rent
- Loss of child custody rights or visitation rights
Critically, the collateral consequences of a gun crime conviction can follow you for the rest of your life. The conviction could stay on your record indefinitely. Your criminal record alone could result in a great deal of setbacks. To avoid these setbacks in your personal and professional life, you’ll want to ensure that you have an experienced defense attorney in your corner. A sound defense strategy could make all the difference.
It’s important to know up front that each person’s case is different. Each gun crime case could involve different allegations made by the police and by the prosecutors. The criminal charges and consequences could be drastically different for people who are seemingly accused of the same thing. For this reason, there is no uniform defense strategy that applies to everyone who is charged with a gun crime in Ohio. Joslyn Law Firm knows this. We will perform a throughout review of your circumstances and the allegations made against you. We will then build an aggressive defense strategy that can help you avoid unwarranted consequences. We are on your side and will help you fight these charges by identifying a strategy that fits your unique situation and which can protect you against harsh penalties or even a wrongful conviction. That being said, there are some important defense strategies to know about because one or more of them might apply to your situation.
You Didn’t Possess The Gun
For you to be found guilty of a crime, whether it is a gun crime or the theft of a candy bar, the prosecutor (also known as the DA) must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Lots of gun crimes involve possession. If the prosecutor alleges that you possessed a gun unlawfully, then they have to argue that you either actually possessed it (e.g. the gun was in your hands, in your waistband, or in a bag that you were carrying), or that you constructively possessed it (e.g. the gun was in the back seat of a car that you were driving, or in a location in which only you had access to).
Perhaps the prosecutor alleges that you possessed a gun but they don’t have sufficient evidence that you actually or constructively possessed it. If the police located a gun in a shared vehicle or apartment, and you weren’t actually holding the gun when the police found it, then the most that the prosecutor can argue is that you constructively possessed the gun. But if there are others in the vehicle or apartment, it might be difficult for the prosecutor to pin you down on possession. Joslyn Law Firm attorneys will closely review the evidence that the prosecutor has on you as it relates to possession or any other crime, and if it appears that the evidence is lacking, then this could serve as a solid defense. Undermining the prosecutor’s theory on possession means potentially undermining their entire case against you.
You Didn’t Knowingly Commit The Offense
Often times, for you to commit a gun crime, the law requires that you knowingly commit the crime. That means that your knowledge of your actions could make the difference between a conviction and an acquittal. As an example, the police locate a gun in your vicinity at the local nightclub. Of the five people who are in the vicinity of the gun, you are the one who is arrested, and the prosecutor charges you with unlawful possession. All the while, you had no idea that the gun was in the nightclub. If the prosecutor can’t prove that you knowingly possessed the gun, then you can’t be convicted. Critically, a prosecutor cannot enter into your mind and determine whether you knew or didn’t know about a gun in your vicinity.
In another example, suppose that you borrow your friend’s car and are pulled over for speeding. If the police search your car and locate a loaded handgun under your seat, then the police will probably arrest you on a gun crime. However, the fact that you were borrowing your friend’s car is useful evidence to present because it raises the possibility that the gun wasn’t yours. Often times, when people borrow cars, they don’t conduct a full search of the vehicle to determine whether there is anything illegal inside. So, your knowledge – or lack thereof – of possessing the gun could be the focus of your criminal case. Joslyn Law Firm knows how to successfully challenge the knowledge element of a gun crime, and we will look hard at your case to determine whether this defense could apply to you.
The Gun Didn’t Work
If your gun doesn’t work, then it can’t be a deadly weapon. If you are carrying around a concealed, inoperable gun, and are charged with violating the law in Ohio, then you can’t be convicted on the gun offense as long as you are not using the gun to hurt or kill someone. However, keep in mind that having an inoperable gun is not a get out of jail free card; it could still be deemed a firearm. Specifically, if your inoperable gun could be perceived as a working gun, and you are in a school safety zone, then you could still be charged with a criminal offense. Also, if your inoperable gun could quickly become operable (e.g. you could assemble the gun in short order), then you could still face criminal charges.
The Police Illegally Searched Your Property
If the reason you are arrested and charged with a gun crime is that the police have searched your home or vehicle and obtained incriminating firearms-related evidence against you, then it is possible that their search and seizure of your gun was illegal. Specifically, the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects you against unlawful searches and seizures. This right is meant to protect you from the police overstepping their authority.
Remember that the police are not permitted to search wherever they want. Rather, the police must generally have a warrant to search your property; or your consent to search your property; or probable cause (the legal justification that may allow for a warrantless search). All too often, police don’t have warrants when they conduct searches. They also don’t get the consent of the owner of the property to conduct a search, and do not have a legal exception or probable cause that justifies the search. A skilled criminal defense attorney should closely review the facts of your case to determine whether the police had the right to search your property. This is a very fact-specific analysis that requires attention to detail.
Critically, in a gun crime case, the gun is the most important evidence. However, if the evidence of that gun was obtained unlawfully, then the evidence of your gun possession could be thrown out. So, a bad search and seizure could be challenged, and if that challenge is successful, your case could be thrown out.
The Police Violated Your Miranda Rights
When you are in police custody (e.g. you are arrested) and are about to be interrogated, then the police are required to read you a Miranda warning. You’ve heard this warning before on TV: “You have the right to remain silent, you have the right to an attorney to be present for questioning.” These rights come from the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Essentially, the police can’t force you to say something that might incriminate you when you are in their custody and are about to be interrogated. However, without you being read the Miranda warning, how would you know?
The reality is that a bad police officer might fail to read you a Miranda warning, and if that happens, you might slip up and say something that they later use against you. Not only that, but a bad police officer might try to shun you for asking for your attorney, and make you believe that getting an attorney will make your situation worse. If you have not been read your Miranda warning, then any incriminating statement you make while in custody and subject to an interrogation (e.g. “I had the gun”) could be suppressed, meaning that your incriminating statement cannot be used against you at trial).
You Acted In Self-Defense
If the prosecutor accuses you of unlawfully discharging or brandishing your weapon, then you have a right to defend against these accusations if your actions were rooted in self-defense. Basically, when it comes to an alleged gun crime, self-defense is legal justification for committing an act of violence with your weapon. But to argue that you acted in self-defense, you’ll have to satisfy a strict set of legal requirements.
Primarily, you must be in fear of serious injury or death by the person who you defend against (e.g. someone is charging at you with a spiked bat and is screaming that they are going to kill you). Secondly, you cannot generally be the aggressor in the situation. So, if you started a fight with someone and punched them in the face, and they tried to attack you in response, then you cannot generally claim self-defense. If you happen to be the aggressor in the situation, then it is possible for you to act in self-defense as long as you have taken sufficient steps to deescalate the situation and retreat while the other person becomes the aggressor.
Critically, self-defense can be a thorny issue when a firearm is involved. Basically, if someone attempts to punch you in the face, then you don’t have the right to respond by shooting them in the face with your gun. The amount of force that you use in defending yourself matters. A more appropriate basis for self-defense would be if someone charged at you with a machete, and you responded by shooting them. In that case, your fear of serious bodily harm or even death is well justified. So, if you acted in self-defense, then it is possible for your charges to be dismissed or for your case to lead to an acquittal.
You Were Misidentified, Or You Had An Alibi
It is possible that you were misidentified by the police, and this has resulted in your criminal charges. Misidentification could easily occur with respect to a gun charge when a gun is found in the vicinity of multiple people who then flee the scene when the police arrive. There are also cases in which the victim points to the wrong person in the lineup.
Another issue that might arise with respect to identification is when a law enforcement officer tries to suggest that an eyewitness identify a certain suspect when that eyewitness is not so sure about who committed the offense. In fact, bad police officers have even been known to alter a suspect’s photograph to increase the chances that the eyewitness identifies that suspect. Either way, eyewitness identification is something that can be challenged. But challenging this involves the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Moreover, if you stand accused of committing a crime, but you were somewhere else at the time of the offense, then an alibi could clear your good name. For instance, if you were having dinner with a friend at a restaurant in a different state than the state in which a gun crime was alleged to have occurred, and you are charged with that gun crime, then your friend could attest to your dinner date – and so could the owner of the restaurant. In any situation in which there is evidence that you were somewhere else, then that evidence services as your alibi, and that could result in an acquittal.
You Are A First Offender
Fortunately, in Ohio, there are more ways than one to avoid the worst case scenario if you have been charged with an offense. Obviously, the best scenarios involve you either being not charged at all or having your case thrown out. But in situations in which the evidence is overwhelming, there may be a way for you to enter into a deal with the prosecutor in which you plead guilty or no contest to the charges in exchange for a more favorable outcome. Many cases get resolved in Ohio through plea agreements, and those agreements can serve to prevent you from having to undergo the time-consuming and nerve-wracking nature of a trial. It is essential that you review your plea bargain with a criminal defense lawyer to determine whether it makes sense to move forward.
Another option to avoid the worst case scenario is a pretrial diversion program. Specifically, as a first time offender, your attorney can seek an alternative sentencing arrangement through a pretrial diversion program. With a pretrial diversion program, you will typically have to serve probation in lieu of a jail sentence, and potentially meet a number of additional requirements such as house-arrest, community service, drug testing, paying a fine, and staying out of trouble. If you meet all the terms of a pretrial diversion program, it may be possible for your charges to be dismissed and for your record to be sealed. Keep in mind that not all people are eligible for pretrial diversion programs. To know whether you qualify, get in touch with a criminal defense attorney.
What Do You Need To Purchase A Firearm In Dayton Ohio?
To purchase a firearm in Dayton Ohio, you need to be over the age of 18. However, you’ll need to be over the age of 21 to buy a handgun. You can buy a gun from a federally-licensed firearms dealer or a private seller. All federally-licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct a background check on you before selling you the firearm. Once you complete the background check, then you will be able to leave with the firearm that day. Remember, in Ohio, you don’t need a permit or license to own a firearm in Ohio. You also don’t have to undergo a waiting period.
Do I Have To Register My Firearm?
You are not required to register your gun in Ohio when you buy a gun. In fact, the state does not even have a gun registry, and local governments in Ohio are prohibited by law from instituting those requirements.
Am I Allowed To Purchase A Gun From A Friend?
You can buy a gun or other firearm from your friend as long as they are not prohibited from selling the gun. So, if your friend is over the age of 21 and has purchased a handgun, and you are over the age of 21, then your friend can sell their handgun to you. In fact, your friend is not required to put you through a criminal background check if they are selling you the gun through a private transaction. However, you’ll want to be careful in entering into this type of transaction to ensure that you are legally allowed to possess, own or carry a firearm. If you aren’t, then both you and your friend could face criminal charges for the transaction.
What Does Open Carry Mean In Ohio?
In Ohio, you are allowed to openly carry your firearm without needing a license or a permit. But you cannot bring your firearm to a place that is prohibited (e.g. a school safety zone, a courthouse, a bar). Consider that openly carrying a gun means that you are not concealing the weapon on your body. If you wish to carry a concealed handgun, then you’ll need a CCW license in Ohio. If you are taking your firearm in your car, then you’ll want to be sure that the gun is stored in a separate place from the ammunition, and that the gun itself cannot be reached by anyone in the car without exiting the vehicle first. An acceptable location for your gun is in your trunk, roof rack or a flatbed. Don’t put your firearm in your center console.
What Protections Does The Second Amendment Offer Me In Ohio?
First of all, the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provides you with the right to bear arms, is the controlling law over Ohio law, meaning that Ohio cannot come up with laws that interfere with a person’s rights under the United States Constitution. Fortunately, Ohio is a pro-gun state, and the Ohio Constitution mirrors that of the United States Constitution. So, you have the right under both the Ohio Constitution and the United States Constitution to have a firearm for your security and safety.
Can My Gun Rights Be Suspended In Ohio?
In certain situations, your right to own or have a gun could be taken away or otherwise suspended by the State of Ohio. If you fall into one of the following categories, you might not be able to have or own a gun:
- You are convicted of a felony drug crime
- You are convicted of a violent felony
- You have been convicted of domestic violence
- You are dependent on dangerous drugs
- You are dependent on alcohol
- You are declared by a court to be mentally incompetent or are involuntarily committed
- A restraining order or civil protection order has been issued against you
- You are a fugitive of justice
- You were a member of the United States Armed Services who has been dishonorably discharged
- You aren’t in this country legally
What Is Considered A Deadly Weapon In Ohio?
In the Buckeye State, you possess a deadly weapon if you have any device, instrument or ordnance that is capable of causing death, and which is adapted or designed to be used, carried or possessed as a weapon. Lots of things are considered deadly weapons:
- Rifles, shotguns, handguns, rocket launchers, machine guns
- Razors and saws
Ohio’s definition of a deadly weapon mirrors the federal government’s definition of a deadly weapon. However, the federal government regulates additional types of deadly weapons including bombs, rockets and mines.
When Am I Able To Legally Carry A Weapon Under Ohio Law?
Assuming that you meet the age requirements for owning a firearm (18 for some firearms, 21 for handguns), and you are not otherwise prohibited from owning or carrying a firearm, then you can openly carry it anywhere that is not prohibited by law. Remember that if you want to carry a concealed handgun in Ohio, you need to get a CCW license.
I Am Disallowed From Having A Firearm Because Of My Criminal Record. Can I Get My Rights Back?
In limited situations, people whose gun rights have been suspended or revoked can retain those rights. As an example, if you have been convicted of an offense, and this conviction has been reversed or expunged from your record, then you might have your rights restored. If you were ordered by a court to undergo drug or alcohol treatment, or you had been treated in a mental institution, then as long as you have been successfully treated, then you could get your rights back. However, some people will lose their gun rights permanently based on their criminal background. For this reason, it is best for you to run your situation by a gun crime lawyer to determine whether you can get your rights back.
Does An Ohio Sheriff Have The Discretion To Deny Issuing Me A Concealed Carry License?
Unlike in other states, Ohio is a shall issue state. This means that as long as you meet the qualifications for getting your concealed carry license, the sheriff cannot deny your application. The sheriff has no place in Ohio to arbitrarily deny your right to carry a concealed weapon if you have met the requirements for getting your license.
Does Ohio Have Reciprocity With Other States Concerning Concealed Carry?
Ohio has reciprocity with most states, but not all. This means that when you have a valid, out-of-state permit or license to carry a concealed weapon, then Ohio will respect that permit or license. However, Ohio has traditionally required the other states to have a licensure process that is substantially similar to Ohio’s process (e.g. the passing of a criminal background check; the completion of a training course). Reciprocity is especially important because it enables those who are visiting the state (e.g. cross-country travelers; tourists) to avoid prosecution if they are following their home state’s laws.
I Have A CCW License In Ohio, But I Want To Bring My Gun Into Another State. Which State’s Laws Do I Follow?
If you are a resident of Ohio who has a concealed carry license, and you are entering into another state with your gun, you’ll want to be sure that you comply with the other state’s laws. For example, if you go to Pennsylvania, then you’ll want to be sure that you are complying with Pennsylvania laws. And if you are in any way unsure about what you can and cannot do if you are about to travel with your gun, you should get on the phone with a lawyer for guidance. Better safe than sorry.
Where Am I Not Allowed To Bring My Gun In Ohio?
In Ohio, there are places you can’t bring your gun. These weapon-free zones generally include:
- Schools; school safety zones
- Police departments
- Airports; airplanes
- Mental institutions; mental health facilities
- Places of worship (unless the organization allows for it)
- Government facilities
- Childcare facilities; daycares
- Private property where there is a sign prohibiting firearms
- Places which have a liquor license and are serving alcohol
- Places that federal law prohibits you to have a gun
When Is It Against The Law To Have A Gun Under Ohio Law?
You could face criminal charges for unlawful possession of a firearm if:
- You have a gun when you are on parole
- You have a gun while you are intoxicated
- You have a gun when you are committing a crime
- You discharge your gun from your car in public
- You carry your gun into a place that is prohibited
- You carry a concealed firearm without having a CCW license
- You are transporting your gun in an improper manner
- You have a certain type of firearm (e.g. automatic machine gun)
What Is Firearms Trafficking?
If you transfer firearms to someone who is not allowed to buy firearms, then you could be charged with firearms trafficking. Also, if you intend to transfer a gun to someone who is prohibited by law from owning a gun, you could be charged with firearms trafficking. Moreover, if you remove or alter the identification marks or the serial number of a firearm, then you could face a trafficking charge.
What Weapons Am I Not Allowed To Buy In Ohio?
Shotguns, handguns and rifles are okay in Ohio. Even 3D printed guns are lawful, unlike in many other states. But if you own or make the following types of firearms, you violate the law unless the federal government gives you permission:
- Semi-automatic assault weapon
- Fully automatic weapon
- Machine gun
- Gun silencer
- Sawed-off shotguns (under 26 inches; barrel under 16 inches) and sawed-off rifles (under 26 inches; barrel under 18 inches)
- A firearm that doesn’t have a serial number on it or which has an altered serial number
- Destructive devices
So, if you want to own a machine gun or another Title II firearm, then you’ll need authority from the federal government and will have to register any dangerous ordnance with the federal government.
What Are The Types Of Firearms That Are Typically Used When Committing Criminal Offenses?
Historically, people have used a wide range of weapons when committing criminal offenses. This includes shotguns, semi-automatic weapons, explosives and more. By far, the most common type of gun crime involves the use of a handgun.
What Happens If The Police Accuse Me Of Using A Weapon During A Crime?
It is important to understand that you might lawfully own a firearm, but that does not give you the right to use the gun however, whenever and wherever you please. If you are arrested and charged with committing a crime of some sort, and you are accused of using a weapon in the process, then you could face a much more drastic set of consequences. This is the case even if you never flash or discharge the gun. In fact, if you have a firearm on you when committing any sort of crime, Ohio imposes an automatic mandatory minimum three-year prison sentence for your possession of the firearm – and that is for a first offender. This doesn’t include the consequences of being convicted for the underlying crime (e.g. robbery). Moreover, an Ohio prosecutor might aim for a harsher sentence for an underlying crime, as the possession of a firearm is deemed an aggravating factor.
Is It Possible For A Prosecutor To Bring Several Weapons Charges Against Me For The Same Incident?
Yes, it is possible for you to be charged with multiple weapons offenses when all of them stem from the same incident. As an example, suppose that the police see that you have weapons in your apartment. The police know that you are prohibited by law from owning guns. So, for each weapon that the police seize from your home, you face a criminal charge for unlawful possession. In another example, perhaps you use a weapon while committing an assault or a robbery. It is possible for you to be charged with assault or robbery, and be charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.
What If I Used My Firearm In Self-Defense?
If someone else causes you to fear imminent death or serious bodily harm, or if someone breaks into your car or home, then you may be permitted to use your firearm in certain situations. Ohio acknowledges that you have a right to defend yourself (you don’t have a duty to retreat the way that other states require); however, there are particular facts that must be present for the defense to work, including that you cannot generally be the aggressor in the situation.
What Are The Consequences Of Getting Convicted On A Firearms Charge In Ohio?
Depending on your charges, criminal history, the weapon(s) involved, and whether anyone has been injured, it is possible for you to receive a relatively light punishment or for you to be placed behind bars for life. If you want to get a true sense of the possible consequences, make sure you touch base with a qualified criminal defense attorney who understands these types of charges and who has experience in dealing with gun crimes cases.
How Can I Defend Myself As A Firearm Owner If I Don’t Have Experience Using A Gun?
If you don’t have sufficient firearm training, then you might cause much more harm than good by getting a gun. As an example, you might carelessly misfire your weapon and injure an innocent person. You might misfire against someone who is trying to rob you, and they might grab your gun and be more encouraged to kill you out of fear for their own life. If you don’t safely store your firearms, then your children or other family members might get a hold of them which could lead to unthinkable results. To avoid a calamity, make sure you complete a safety course before using or carrying a gun.
How Can An Ohio Gun Crime Defense Attorney Help Me?
If you have been charged with a gun crime in the State of Ohio, then you’ll be facing possibly the most nerve-wracking experience of your life. A conviction on a gun crime charge – especially felony offenses – can result in you being placed in prison for years. You could be hit with a massive fine. Your career could be destroyed. Your family relationships might suffer irreparable harm. And even after completing the requirements of your sentence, your criminal record may follow you around. With so much on the line, you need to have a skilled criminal defense attorney to defend you and to protect your rights.
Joslyn Law Firm, who is comprised of dedicated and highly experienced criminal defense attorneys, understands the gravity of these gun offenses. If you retain our firm, we carefully evaluate your charges, the police report, and all the evidence that the state has on you, and will uncover the soundest defense strategies to fight these charges and help protect you from a disaster.
Joslyn Law Firm is devoted to ensuring that the rights of the accused are protected. Even in situations where the case against you might appear strong, we can still serve a valuable purpose by seeking to get your charges reduced. No matter your situation, we will work tirelessly to put you in the best position possible. If you have been charged with a crime, then the last thing that you should do is gamble on your future by hiring an overburdened public defender or an unproven attorney. You’ll want a skilled trial attorney in your corner. You’ll need a skilled professional in your corner. So, if the State of Ohio is accusing you of a gun crime, reach out to Joslyn Law Firm by calling (614) 444-1900 or by contacting us online.
Aside from contacting Joslyn Law Firm if you ever have a run-in with the law, you should check out the following valuable resources on firearms and other weapons in the State of Ohio:
- United States Constitution – the law of the land; contains your Second Amendment right to bear arms
- National Rifle Association – America’s oldest gun rights organization who is dedicated to protecting your Second Amendment rights including your rights to purchase and possess firearms
- National Association for Gun Rights – organization that takes on America’s anti-gun agenda
- USA Carry – weapons-related topics; articles on concealed carry
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) – federal organization that investigates, prevents federal offenses relating to the use, manufacture and possession of firearms and explosives
- Office of Criminal Justice Services – lead criminal justice planning agency in Ohio; aims to reduce and prevent crime in the state
- Ohio’s Concealed Carry Laws and License Application – everything you need to know about carrying a concealed weapon in Ohio, including how to apply for a CCW license
- Buckeye Firearms Association – provides valuable information on gun education, gun-related events, and legislation in Ohio
- Ohioans for Concealed Carry – organization that advocates for CCW laws; contains policy information and forums discussing concealed carry issues
- Students for Concealed Carry – organization that advocates for carrying concealed weapons on college campuses; founded in the wake of Virginia Tech shootings
- Black Wing Shooting Center – offers training courses and packages that can help you get your concealed carry license
- Vance Outdoors – gun retailer; offers training courses and packages that can help you get your concealed carry license
- Montgomery County Sherriff’s Office – Concealed Handgun Licensing (CHL) Department allows you to make appointments, apply for new or renewal concealed carry licenses, and pay for concealed carry licenses or background checks
Know About These Gun Laws In Ohio
These sections of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) concern firearms:
- ORC 9.68 – Right to bear arms
- ORC 109.731 – Prescribed forms for concealed handgun license
- ORC 504.04 – Exercise of powers under limited home rule government
- ORC 1547.69 – Firearms prohibitions
- ORC 2305.40 – Owner, lessee, or renter of real property not liable to trespasser
- ORC 2305.401 – Member of the firearms industry not liable for harm sustained as a result of the operation or discharge of firearm
- ORC 2921.13 – Falsification in theft offense to purchase firearm
- ORC 2923.11 – Weapons control definitions
- ORC 2923.12 – Carrying concealed weapons
- ORC 2923.121 – Possession of firearm in beer liquor permit premises – prohibitions, exceptions.
- ORC 2923.122 – Illegal conveyance or possession of deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance or of object indistinguishable from firearm in school safety zone
- ORC 2923.123 – Illegal conveyance of deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance into courthouse – illegal possession or control in courthouse
- ORC 2923.125 – Application and licensing process
- ORC 2923.126 – Duties of licensed individual
- ORC 2923.127 – Challenging denial of license
- ORC 2923.128 – Suspension and revocation of license
- ORC 2923.129 – Immunity
- ORC 2923.1210 – Transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition on private property
- ORC 2923.1211 – Falsification of concealed handgun license – possessing a revoked or suspended concealed handgun license
- ORC 2923.1212 – Signage prohibiting concealed handguns
- ORC 2923.1213 – Temporary emergency license
- ORC 2923.13 – Heaving weapons while under disability
- ORC 2923.14 – Relief from weapons disability
- ORC 2923.15 – Using weapons while intoxicated
- ORC 2923.16 – Improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle
- ORC 2923.161 – Improperly discharging firearm at or into a habitation, in a school safety zone or with intent to cause harm or panic to persons in a school building or at a school function
- ORC 2923.162 – Discharge of firearm on or near prohibited premises
- ORC 2923.20 – Unlawful transaction in weapons
- ORC 2923.201 – Possessing a defaced firearm
- ORC 2923.21 – Improperly furnishing firearms to minor
- ORC 2923.211 – Underage purchase of firearm or handgun
- Representative Phil Robinson Jr. introduced HB 317. Basically, HB 317 is geared towards getting Ohio to implement universal background checks that correspond with federal law. The bill also limits how a gun may be transferred. 90 percent of Ohioans are in favor of universal background checks according to a 2019 Quinnipiac University poll.
- Ohio Supreme Court let stand an appellate court ruling that the City of Cincinnati cannot ban “bump stocks” on assault weapons. The city tried to ban them following the 2018 Nevada shooting in which 58 people were killed. The appellate court determined that Cincinnati lacked the right to make its own gun laws.
- In January 2021, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed SB 175, which became effective in April 2021. SB 175 gives immunity to nonprofits for certain deaths, injuries or losses that stem from carrying of handguns. The bill also expands the places where people have no duty to retreat before using force under both criminal and civil law.