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 other 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
Owner license required? No No None
Carry permits required? No 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.[3]
Open carry? Yes Yes O.R.C. 2923.16

O.R.C. 2923.121

May open carry without a permit if 18 years or older. Restrictions in motor vehicle and licensed liquor establishments.
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? 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 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].[4][5]

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.[5]

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), 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.[3]

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 carry a handgun in a 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.[6]

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).[7]

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. ^ a b NRA-ILA. "NRA-ILA | Ohio: Kasich Signs Critical Self-Defense Bill Into Law!". NRA-ILA. Retrieved 2016-12-22. 
  4. ^ Ohio Attorney General – Concealed Carry information
  5. ^ a b "Ohio Legislature HB 234". 
  6. ^ "Lawriter - ORC - 2923.121 Possession of firearm in beer liquor permit premises - prohibition, exceptions.". Retrieved 2016-06-20. 
  7. ^ Marshall, Aaron (December 29, 2010). "Ohio Supreme Court Upholds State Law Blocking Cleveland's Gun Law", The Plain Dealer. Retrieved January 25, 2014.