Improper Handling of a Firearm

Improper handling of a firearm is a common violation for people with good intentions who fail to transport the firearm in a legal manner. If done improperly, transporting or possessing a firearm comes with serious responsibilities and consequences.

Improper handling of a firearm is considered to be knowingly discharging a gun in a vehicle or having a loaded firearm accessible in the vehicle without a permit.

Lawyer for Improper Handling of a Firearm in Dayton

Attorneys with Joslyn Law Firm have extensive knowledge of firearm laws in Ohio, and they will fight to protect your rights and achieve the best possible outcome for your situation. Joslyn Law Firm assists clients who have been accused of such crimes in Dayton, Kettering, Huber Heights, Troy, Piqua, Springfield, Beavercreek and other surrounding areas.

Call us today at (937) 356-3969 and one of our attorneys will evaluate your case for free and work to have the charges brought against you possibly reduced or dismissed.


Overview of Improper Handling of a Firearm in Ohio


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What is Improper Handling of a Firearm?

There is a right and wrong way to handle a gun. Ohio Revised Code 2923.16 establishes improper handling of a firearm as knowingly discharging a gun in a vehicle or having a loaded firearm accessible in the vehicle without a permit.

Regardless if the person is the driver or a passenger, the following circumstances are considered to be improper handling of a firearm

  • The person is under the influence
  • The person’s blood, breath or urine contains a concentration of alcohol, controlled substance or a substance that prohibits a person from operating a vehicle.

There are circumstances where discharging a firearm in a motor vehicle is permitted. Under O.R.C 2923.16 (F)(2), permitted circumstances include:

  • Discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle at a coyote or groundhog, the discharge is not during deer season and the discharge at the coyote or groundhog is lawful.
  • The motor vehicle the firearm was discharged in is on property that is located in an unincorporated area that is zoned for agriculture or used for agriculture.
  • The individual who owns the unincorporated property is the spouse or child of a person who owns the property, a tenant, or a spouse or child of the tenant.
  • If the person does not discharge the firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, in the direction of property used by the public for vehicular traffic or parking, at or into an occupied structure that is inhabited or has previous firearms conviction.

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Penalties for Improper Handling of a Firearm

Listed below are Ohio’s suggested penalties for offenses involving firearms. However, these penalties vary depending on the specifics of the offense, where the offense was committed, if the offender had been previously convicted and whether the individual possessed a concealed handgun license. Suggested penalties are as follows:

  • A minor misdemeanor with fines up to $150
  • Fourth-degree misdemeanor that entails the possibility of no more than 30 days in jail and no more than $250 in fines
  • First-degree misdemeanor and the possibility of up to 180 days in jail and no more than $1,000 in fines
  • Fifth-degree felony with a prison sentence ranging from six to 12 months with no more than $2,500 in fines
  • Fourth-degree felony with a prison sentence ranging from six months to 18 months with no more than $5,000 in fines
  • Third-degree felony with a prison sentence ranging from one to five years and no more than $10,000 in fines 
  • Second-degree felony with a prison sentence ranging from two to eight years and no more than $15,000 in fines
  • First-degree felony with a prison sentence ranging from three to 10 years and no more than $20,000 in fines

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General Firearm Guidelines for Ohio

The Ohio Constitution allows its people the right to bear arms for their defense and security, but there are guidelines citizens must follow. Below are a few examples of Ohio’s gun laws.

O.R.C 2923.16(C) establishes that Ohio citizens are permitted to lawfully transport an unloaded firearm in the following manner:

  • In a closed box, package or case
  • In a compartment that can only be reached by leaving the vehicle
  • In plain sight and secured in a holder or rack
  • If the firearm is at least 24 inches in length and the barrel is 18 inches in length, it must be in plain sight with the weapon stripped or open. If the firearm cannot stay opened or easily stripped, it must be in plain sight.

Under O.R.C 2923.16 (E), if you have a concealed handgun license or are an active member of the military with an I.D card, you can be charged with a misdemeanor, a felony and/or have your license suspended if you do not do the following when stopped by law enforcement:

  • Inform the law enforcement officer(s) who approaches the vehicle during a stop that you have been issued a concealed handgun license or are authorized to carry a concealed handgun and there is a loaded handgun in the vehicle or commercial vehicle.
  • Fail to remain in the vehicle with hands in plain sight anytime after the law enforcement officer approaches the vehicle while stopped unless otherwise stated by an officer.
  • Knowingly having contact with the loaded handgun with hands or fingers in the vehicle anytime after the law enforcement officer begins approaching the vehicle and after they leave.
  • Disregarding or failing to comply with any lawful order given by an officer while the vehicle is stopped

It is established under O.R.C 2923.13, that individuals under certain circumstance are barred from possessing a firearm. If caught violating this statute, it is punishable as a felony in the third degree.

A person can be charged with this offense if they are the following:

  • A convicted felon
  • Under indictment for or convicted of any violent felony offense
  • Under indictment or has been convicted of illegal possession, use, sale, administration, distribution or trafficking of drugs
  • Dependent on drugs, in danger of drug dependence or a chronic alcoholic
  • Is mentally incompetent, ill, defective or committed to a mental institution

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Ohio Improper Handling of Firearm Resources

Ohio Revised Code 2923.16 – View full text of the Ohio Revised Code that governs the improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle on code.ohio.gov. The statute offers in-depth explanations of topics such as who is permitted to discharge a firearm from motor vehicle and penalties. Code.ohio.gov is a site the features both the Ohio Revised Code and Administrative Code. 

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives- The ATF provides a section on firearms that features Q&A’s, publications and other tools. The ATF is the national law enforcement agency that strives to protect American citizens and communities from violent crimes, terrorism, the illegal use of alcohol and tobacco and trafficking of firearms.

Find an Improper Handling of Firearm Attorney in Dayton, OH

Contact Joslyn Law Firm today to discuss the specifics of your case. Our attorneys will fight to protect your rights and prove your innocence. Joslyn Law Firm assists clients in the are experienced with cases involving improper handling of a firearm.

Call us today at (937) 356-3969 or fill out our online form and one of our attorneys will review your case for free. We proudly assist clients in communities that include Dayton, Kettering, Huber Heights, Troy, Piqua, Beavercreek, and other surrounding areas. 


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