Gun laws in Ohio

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Location of Ohio in the United States

Gun laws in Ohio regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the state of Ohio in the United States.[1][2]

The Ohio constitution acknowledges the right to keep and bear arms. Ohio law provides very few additional restrictions on gun ownership and transactions than the restrictions provided by Federal law. Ohio gun law relates mostly to the carrying and transportation of guns.

Summary table[edit]

Subject/Law Long guns Handguns Relevant Statutes Notes
State Permit to Purchase? No No None
Firearm registration? No No None
"Assault weapon" law? No No O.R.C. 2923.11

HB 234

Magazines for weapons not in .22 caliber holding over 31 rounds makes the weapon an "automatic firearm" subject to law accordingly.

As of March 19, 2015, the definition of an automatic weapon will be changed to mean only a firearm designed or adapted to fire a succession of cartridges with a single function of the trigger, thereby invalidating the 31+ rounds law.

Owner license required? No No None
Carry permits issued? No Yes O.R.C. 2923.125

HB 234

Shall Issue – 12 hour training required. Will be reduced to 8 hours as of March 19, 2015.
Open carry? Yes Yes O.R.C. 2923.16 Traditional open carry state. Restrictions in motor vehicle.
State Preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes O.R.C. 9.68 Full preemption, affirmed by City of Cleveland v. State of Ohio
NFA weapons restricted? Partial Partial O.R.C. 2923

HB 234

It is a violation of state law to possess NFA weapons except as permitted by federal law. As of March 19, 2015, a chief law enforcement officer shall be required to sign off on an NFA application absent a legitimate reason for denial, thereby removing any personal bias toward NFA-related items.
Peaceable Journey laws? No No None Federal rules observed.

Concealed carry[edit]

In April 2004, Ohio's concealed carry statute went into effect. The law (Ohio Revised Code [O.R.C.] 2923.12, et seq.) allows persons 21 and older to receive a concealed handgun license provided that they receive a minimum of 12 hours of handgun training (10 hours of classroom instruction and 2 hours of range time) from a certified instructor, demonstrate competency with a handgun through written and shooting tests, pass a criminal background check, and meet certain residency requirements [residency requirement will no longer be in effect as of March 19, 2015].[3][4]

The statute prohibits any person with any drug conviction from receiving a license, as well as any person convicted of a felony and those who have been convicted of certain misdemeanor crimes of violence within three years (ORC 2923.125).

Ohio's concealed handgun law allows for reciprocity with other states with "substantially comparable" statutes, and to date Ohio has reciprocity with 22 other states. Such written agreements allow licensees from each state to carry in the other. Other states, such as Indiana and Iowa, recognize Ohio licenses in their state without reciprocity, meaning Ohio does not in turn recognize permits issued by that state. All told an Ohio license is accepted in 30 other states, although some of these states such as Vermont do not require anybody to have a license to carry. As of March 19, 2015, concealed carry reciprocity will be expanded to visitors and persons temporarily in Ohio who have valid out-of-state licenses, regardless of whether the license-issuing state has entered into a reciprocity agreement with Ohio. [4]

An Ohio concealed carry license does not allow totally unfettered carry. Any owner of private property can ban handguns by posting a sign in clear view or providing verbal notice. Additional "no-carry" zones are mandated by O.R.C., including most government buildings, churches, and school property with the latter two zones having exceptions for licensees in certain circumstances. Various other "no-carry" zones are also enumerated.

Non-licensees and all users of long guns have much stricter rules for carrying firearms in their vehicles. Ohio statute O.R.C. 2923.16 allows for three ways for those not licensed to carry a concealed handgun to transport firearms in a motor vehicle. The firearm(s) must be unloaded and carried in one of the following ways:

(1) In a closed package, box, or case;

(2) In a compartment that can be reached only by leaving the vehicle;

(3) In plain sight and secured in a rack or holder made for the purpose;

(4) If the firearm is at least twenty-four inches in overall length as measured from the muzzle to the part of the stock furthest from the muzzle and if the barrel is at least eighteen inches in length, either in plain sight with the action open or the weapon stripped, or, if the firearm is of a type on which the action will not stay open or which cannot easily be stripped, in plain sight.

Licensees may carry a loaded handgun in a vehicle in most circumstances. Licensees must follow the above rules for any firearm other than a handgun (e.g. shotgun).

Open carry[edit]

Ohio is a traditional open-carry state. The open-carry of firearms by those who legally possess the firearm is a legal activity in Ohio with or without a license. While legal, the practice is not common in urban areas and often results in police responding. Furthermore, one must have a concealed handgun license to carry a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle regardless of whether or not it is concealed.

State preemption[edit]

Per O.R.C. 9.68, all firearm laws in Ohio, except those restricting the discharge of firearms and certain zoning regulations, supersede any local ordinances. This restriction on municipalities was upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court in the cases of OFCC vs. Clyde (2008) and City of Cleveland vs. State of Ohio (2010).[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "State Gun Laws of Ohio", National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), November 1, 2011. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  2. ^ "Ohio State Law Summary", Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (LCPGV), January 1, 2012. Retrieved January 26, 2014.
  3. ^ Ohio Attorney General – Concealed Carry information
  4. ^ a b "Ohio Legislature HB 234". 
  5. ^ Marshall, Aaron (December 29, 2010). "Ohio Supreme Court Upholds State Law Blocking Cleveland's Gun Law", The Plain Dealer. Retrieved January 25, 2014.