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 U.S. state of Ohio.[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 other than the restrictions provided by U.S. federal law. Ohio gun law relates mostly to the carrying and transportation of guns.


To purchase a long gun (rifle or shotgun) in Ohio, a person must be at least 18 years of age, with some restrictions still remaining. To be able to qualify to purchase a handgun (pistol or revolver) in Ohio, you must be at least 21 years of age. However, the law regarding purchasing age is silent on ammunition, components and accessories.[3] In Ohio, there are also a few other laws that are important to be mindful of. It is illegal to consciously fire a firearm while inside of a motor vehicle.[4] Antique or replica rifles, shotguns, and handguns are supposed to be treated with the same urgency and under the same law a modern firearm would be. Antiques or replicas have to be carried and purchased under modern Ohio regulatory law.

While there are restrictions against purchasing a long gun under 18 years of age and purchasing a handgun under 21 years of age, there are no restrictions against possessing a long gun under the age of 18 or possessing a handgun under the age of 21. Ohio law is silent on 80% receivers and other firearms parts, as well as manufacturing one's own firearm. One may openly carry a long gun or handgun under the respective purchasing ages, per se.[5]

One may not furnish or sell a long gun to anyone under the age of 18, nor furnish or sell a handgun to anyone under the age of 21. The law is silent on furnishing or selling ammunition, components or accessories.[6]

Summary table[edit]

Subject/Law Long guns Handguns Relevant Statutes Notes
State permit required to purchase? No No None
Firearm registration? No No None
Assault weapon law? No No O.R.C. 2923.11
Owner license required? No No None
License required for concealed carry? N/A Yes O.R.C 2923.125 Shall Issue – 8 hours of training required, 2 hours of which must include range time. Active duty members of the Armed Forces are exempt from the carry permit requirement.[7]
License required for open carry? No No O.R.C. 2923.16

O.R.C. 2923.121

O.R.C. 2923.122

O.R.C. 2923.123

May open carry without a permit. Restrictions in motor vehicles, licensed liquor establishments, and courthouses., as well as on school grounds.
State preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes O.R.C. 9.68 Full preemption, affirmed by City of Cleveland v. State of Ohio. Further strengthened by HB 228[8]
NFA weapons restricted? No No

O.R.C. 2923.17

NFA items are legal if registered in accordance with the NFA.
Shall certify? Yes Yes O.R.C. 311.43 Shall certify within 45 days.
Peaceable journey laws? No No None Federal rules observed.
Duty to inform? No Yes O.R.C. 2923.126 Any concealed handgun licensee must inform a law enforcement officer immediately upon contact for law enforcement purposes if they are in possession of a loaded handgun. If the licensee is an occupant of a vehicle and there is a loaded handgun in the car, the licensee must also inform the law enforcement officer.
Background checks required for private sales? No No

Concealed Carry[edit]

In April 2004, Ohio became the 46th state to legalize concealed carry and its 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 8 hours of handgun training (6 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 [non-residents who work in Ohio will be allowed to obtain licenses as of March 23, 2015].[9][10]

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 Iowa, recognize Ohio licenses in their state without reciprocity, meaning Ohio does not in turn recognize permits issued by that state. Indiana and Ohio now have reciprocity. 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 23, 2015, non-residents will be able to carry on any valid out-of-state license regardless of whether or not a formal reciprocity agreement has been signed.[10]

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.[11]

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), although they have greater flexibility in terms of where loaded magazines for these firearms may be located.

Employers may not forbid employees from storing guns in their vehicles while the vehicle is on the employer's parking lot.[7]

The law also allows concealed carry permit holders to:

  • Store their guns in the car while in a school zone
  • Carry in non-secure areas of airports, such as baggage claim.
  • Carry inside daycare centers and home daycares, unless the facilities post a sign prohibiting guns

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. One need not have a concealed handgun license (CHL, CCW) to transport an unloaded handgun in a motor vehicle but it must be secured/contained and located in the vehicle requiring an exit of said vehicle to access it. Ammunition and magazines must be in a separate compartment or holding device. Note: If you have any alcohol in your system it is illegal to possess a firearm in your vehicle or on your person.

It is illegal to open carry a handgun in Class D Liquor permit premises unless you possess a concealed carry permit and are not consuming alcohol. The law doesn't specify if the handgun must be concealed or not.[12]

On March 22 of 2017, Senate Bill 199[13] went into effect in the state of Ohio that allowed even larger freedoms for gun holders in the state. The new state legislature denies employers or law enforcement from limiting the open carry freedoms in parking lots. Gun owners are only permitted to have their firearm on private company property if it stays locked inside the vehicle. Employers can still deny their employees the ability to bring a firearm into the workplace.

The laws still prohibit having concealed firearms on college campuses in Ohio, but allow for open carry. Colleges are now able to hire and designate authorized people or groups to concealed carry firearms to manage the campus. Private day care centers are still able to limit the concealed carrying of firearms on the premises of the school by posting "no gun" signs. Lastly, this bill allows active duty members of the armed forces to buy a handgun without a concealed handgun license if they can provide a valid military ID and documentation of their firearms training.[14]

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).[15] An individual in Ohio has a constitutional right, by the United States Constitution and the Ohio State Constitution to bear arms. This is a right that is consistently upheld and respected by the state of Ohio and it is the responsibility of the general assembly to create a set of fair, just and uniform laws throughout Ohio when monitoring the possession, retail or ownership of a firearm or the necessary components to use a firearm. That is the expectation of the state's government leaders and their regulation practices.[16]

Some counties have adopted Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions.[17]

Recent news[edit]

Following the Republican National Convention being hosted at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio; there has been a continued debate on whether there should be limitations to the open carry policies during crowded events in cities. Ohio Governor John Kasich rejected the request of the Cleveland Police Union to ban the open carrying of firearms around the convention. This is the second time a plan to restrict the open carry rights in cities had been shut down; previously it was by Governor Bob Taft in 2006.[18]

On October 24, 2017 the Ohio House of Representatives passed Substitute House Bill 142, giving gun owners guidelines on how to manage traffic stops with their firearm in the vehicle. The law states that a handgun license only has to be presented to a police officer once their driver's license is requested. The bill also lowers the penalty to a minor misdemeanor with a fine that would not go over $25. The bill gained immediate support from the NRA, and has been seen as a step forward by the pro-gun population of Ohio.[19]

When the use of medical marijuana became permitted in Ohio in 2018, there arose repercussions for people who wanted to own a firearm. It is federal law, according to the U.S Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, that people who have a medical marijuana prescription are prohibited from possessing a firearm. The law goes further to state that it is illegal for marijuana users to ship, transport, receive or possess firearms or ammunition. Joe Eaton of the Buckeye Firearms Association acknowledges the possible future conflict saying, "There is definitely a conflict between state and federal laws".[20]

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. ^ "Lawriter - ORC - 2923.211 Underage purchase of firearm or handgun". Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  4. ^ "Lawriter - ORC - 2923.16 Improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle". Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  5. ^ "Lawriter - ORC". Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  6. ^ "Lawriter - ORC - 2923.21 Improperly furnishing firearms to minor". Retrieved 2019-10-23.
  7. ^ a b NRA-ILA. "NRA-ILA | Ohio: Kasich Signs Critical Self-Defense Bill Into Law!". NRA-ILA. Retrieved 2016-12-22.
  8. ^ NRA-ILA. "NRA-ILA | Ohio: Legislature Overrides Governor Kasich's Veto of Self-Defense Legislation". NRA-ILA. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  9. ^ Ohio Attorney General – Concealed Carry information
  10. ^ a b "Ohio Legislature HB 234".
  11. ^ Ohio's Concealed Carry Laws and License Application. 2017.CS1 maint: location (link)
  12. ^ "Lawriter - ORC - 2923.121 Possession of firearm in beer liquor permit premises - prohibition, exceptions". Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  13. ^ "New Ohio gun law expands where people can carry concealed weapons". Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  14. ^ "Big changes to Ohio's concealed carry law to take effect Tuesday". 2017-03-20. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  15. ^ Marshall, Aaron (December 29, 2010). "Ohio Supreme Court Upholds State Law Blocking Cleveland's Gun Law", The Plain Dealer. Retrieved January 25, 2014.
  16. ^ NRA-ILA. "NRA-ILA | Ohio Gun Laws". NRA-ILA. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  17. ^ "Commissioners express support for Second Amendment - Pomeroy Daily Sentinel". 2019-12-19. Retrieved 2019-12-20.
  18. ^ "In some U.S. cities, police push back against 'open-carry' gun laws". Reuters. 2016-07-19. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  19. ^ NRA-ILA. "NRA-ILA | Ohio: Right to Carry Reform Bill Passes House". NRA-ILA. Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  20. ^ "No guns: Ohio's medical marijuana users won't be able to have firearms". daytondailynews. Retrieved 2017-12-07.