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Unlawful Possession of a Dangerous Ordnance

Weapons possession is regulated in Ohio, and only certain authorized individuals are allowed to possess dangerous ordnances. Possession of any dangerous ordnance is a felony offense in Ohio, and convictions can carry steep penalties that include possible prison time as well as large fines.

The same statute that prohibits dangerous ordnances also makes it a felony offense for an alleged offender to manufacture or process an explosive. In these types of cases, it is critical to determine whether the alleged dangerous ordnance or explosive in question actually satisfies the state’s own definition of those terms.

Attorney for Unlawful Possession of a Dangerous Ordnance in Dayton, OH

If you were arrested for alleged unlawful possession of dangerous ordnance or illegally manufacturing or processing explosives anywhere in the Miami Valley area, it is in your best interest to exercise your right to remain silent until you have legal representation. Joslyn Law Firm aggressively defends clients accused of gun, weapon, and firearm crimes in numerous communities in the Montgomery County area, including Troy, Piqua, Fairborn, Springfield, Beavercreek, Huber Heights, Dayton, Kettering, and many others.

Dayton criminal defense lawyer Brian Joslyn can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (937) 356-3969 to schedule a free, confidential consultation.


Ohio Unlawful Possession of a Dangerous Ordnance Information Center


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Montgomery County Unlawful Possession of a Dangerous Ordnance Charges

Ohio Revised Code § 2923.17(A) makes it a fifth-degree felony for a person to knowingly acquire, have, carry, or use any dangerous ordnance. Under Ohio Revised Code § 2923.11(K), dangerous ordnance is defined as any of the following:

  • Any automatic or sawed-off firearm, zip-gun, or ballistic knife;
  • Any explosive device or incendiary device;
  • Nitroglycerin, nitrocellulose, nitrostarch, PETN, cyclonite, TNT, picric acid, and other high explosives; amatol, tritonal, tetrytol, pentolite, pecretol, cyclotol, and other high explosive compositions; plastic explosives; dynamite, blasting gelatin, gelatin dynamite, sensitized ammonium nitrate, liquid-oxygen blasting explosives, blasting powder, and other blasting agents; and any other explosive substance having sufficient brisance or power to be particularly suitable for use as a military explosive, or for use in mining, quarrying, excavating, or demolitions;
  • Any firearm, rocket launcher, mortar, artillery piece, grenade, mine, bomb, torpedo, or similar weapon, designed and manufactured for military purposes, and the ammunition for that weapon;
  • Any firearm muffler or suppressor; or
  • Any combination of parts that is intended by the owner for use in converting any firearm or other device into a dangerous ordnance.

Dangerous ordnance does not include any of the following items listed under Ohio Revised Code § 2923.11(K):

  • Any firearm, including a military weapon and the ammunition for that weapon, and regardless of its actual age, that employs a percussion cap or other obsolete ignition system, or that is designed and safe for use only with black powder;
  • Any pistol, rifle, or shotgun, designed or suitable for sporting purposes, including a military weapon as issued or as modified, and the ammunition for that weapon, unless the firearm is an automatic or sawed-off firearm;
  • Any cannon or other artillery piece that, regardless of its actual age, is of a type in accepted use prior to 1887, has no mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, or other system for absorbing recoil and returning the tube into battery without displacing the carriage, and is designed and safe for use only with black powder;
  • Black powder, priming quills, and percussion caps possessed and lawfully used to fire a cannon of a type defined in division (L)(3) of this section during displays, celebrations, organized matches or shoots, and target practice, and smokeless and black powder, primers, and percussion caps possessed and lawfully used as a propellant or ignition device in small-arms or small-arms ammunition; or
  • Dangerous ordnance that is inoperable or inert and cannot readily be rendered operable or activated, and that is kept as a trophy, souvenir, curio, or museum piece.

Ohio Revised Code § 2923.17(B) also makes it a second-degree felony for a person to manufacture or process an explosive at any location in this state unless the person first has been issued a license, certificate of registration, or permit to do so from a fire official of a political subdivision of this state or from the office of the fire marshal. Ohio Revised Code § 2923.11(M) defines explosive as meaning “any chemical compound, mixture, or device, the primary or common purpose of which is to function by explosion.”

The definition of explosive includes all materials that have been classified as division 1.1, division 1.2, division 1.3, or division 1.4 explosives by the United States Department of Transportation in its regulations and includes, but is not limited to, dynamite, black powder, pellet powders, initiating explosives, blasting caps, electric blasting caps, safety fuses, fuse igniters, squibs, cordeau detonant fuses, instantaneous fuses, and igniter cords and igniters. Explosive does not, however, include fireworks or any substance or material otherwise meeting the definition of explosive that is manufactured, sold, possessed, transported, stored, or used in any activity described in Ohio Revised Code § 3743.80, provided the activity is conducted in accordance with all applicable laws, rules, and regulations.


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Unlawful Possession of a Dangerous Ordnance Penalties in Dayton

As a fifth-degree felony, a conviction for unlawful possession of dangerous ordnance is punishable by punishable by up to 12 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,500. The second-degree felony offense of illegally manufacturing or processing explosives is punishable by up to eight years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000.

Ohio Revised Code § 2923.17(C) establishes that the prohibition on acquiring, having, carrying, or using any dangerous ordnance does not apply to any of the following types of people:

  • Officers, agents, or employees of Ohio or any other state or the United States, members of the armed forces of the United States or the organized militia of Ohio or any other state, and law enforcement officers, to the extent that any such person is authorized to acquire, have, carry, or use dangerous ordnance and is acting within the scope of the person's duties;
  • Importers, manufacturers, dealers, and users of explosives, having a license or user permit issued and in effect pursuant to the "Organized Crime Control Act of 1970," and any amendments or additions thereto or reenactments thereof, with respect to explosives and explosive devices lawfully acquired, possessed, carried, or used under the laws of Ohio and applicable federal law;
  • Importers, manufacturers, and dealers having a license to deal in destructive devices or their ammunition, issued and in effect pursuant to the "Gun Control Act of 1968," and any amendments or additions thereto or reenactments thereof, with respect to dangerous ordnance lawfully acquired, possessed, carried, or used under the laws of Ohio and applicable federal law;
  • Persons to whom surplus ordnance has been sold, loaned, or given by the secretary of the army, and any amendments or additions thereto or reenactments thereof, with respect to dangerous ordnance when lawfully possessed and used for the purposes specified in such section;
  • Owners of dangerous ordnance registered in the national firearms registration and transfer record, and any amendments or additions thereto or reenactments thereof, and regulations issued thereunder;
  • Carriers, warehouses, and others engaged in the business of transporting or storing goods for hire, with respect to dangerous ordnance lawfully transported or stored in the usual course of their business and in compliance with the laws of this state and applicable federal law;
  • The holders of a license or temporary permit issued and in effect pursuant to Ohio Revised Code § 2923.18, with respect to dangerous ordnance lawfully acquired, possessed, carried, or used for the purposes and in the manner specified in such license or permit; or
  • Persons who own a dangerous ordnance that is a firearm muffler or suppressor attached to a gun that is authorized to be used for hunting by Ohio Revised Code § 1533.16 and who are authorized to use such a dangerous ordnance by Ohio Revised Code § 1533.04.

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Ohio Unlawful Possession of a Dangerous Ordnance Resources

State v. Jordan, 89 Ohio St.3d 488, 2000-Ohio-225 — Thomas Eugene Jordan was found guilty of unlawful possession of dangerous ordnance and was sentenced to a term of incarceration of six months for possessing a sawed-off shotgun. Jordan appealed his conviction and sentence to the Court of Appeals for Montgomery County, arguing that the word “knowingly” establishes the culpable mental state a defendant must possess in order for there to be a violation of Ohio Revised Code § 2923.17(A). The appeal court reversed the judgment of the trial court and ordered Jordan discharged after concluding that the culpable mental state of knowingly found in Ohio Revised Code § 2923.17(A) requires that the state must prove that the accused had knowledge of those specific characteristics that made the weapon in his possession dangerous ordnance. The Supreme Court of Ohio reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstated Jordan’s conviction and sentence after concluding that the “evidence submitted for review was sufficient to prove that appellee was knowingly in possession of dangerous ordnance.” In an opinion concurring in judgment only, Justice Deborah Louise Cook wrote that she agreed with the court’s reversal because she agreed “instead with the trial court’s conclusion that the word ‘knowingly’ modifies only the verbs ‘acquire, have, carry, [and] use’ and not the words ‘dangerous ordnance.’”

Ohio Revised Code § 2923.11 | Weapons control definitions — View the full text of the state law governing definitions for terms used in weapons offenses in Ohio. In addition to the definition of dangerous ordnance, you can also find definitions for deadly weapon, handgun, and semi-automatic firearm. You can also find additional information about how the word explosive is defined under state law.


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Joslyn Law Firm | Dayton Unlawful Possession of a Dangerous Ordnance Defense Lawyer

Were you recently arrested anywhere in the Montgomery County area for alleged unlawful possession of a dangerous ordnance or illegally manufacturing or processing explosives? Do not say anything to authorities until you have contacted Joslyn Law Firm.

Brian Joslyn is an award-winning criminal defense attorney in Dayton who represents individuals throughout Montgomery County, Clark County, Greene County, and Miami County. Call (937) 356-3969 or fill out an online contact form to have our lawyer review your case and discuss all of your legal options during a free, confidential consultation.


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