If you’re arrested for a firearms-related crime in Columbus, you should seek legal help. Sentences vary widely, but gun convictions leave a lasting stigma. Depending on the charge, you could be looking at jail time or permanently losing your right to own a firearm. You should know what you’re up against and how a defense lawyer can improve your situation.
Ohio Gun Laws
Ohio firearm laws are pretty lenient compared to some other states because a permit’s not needed to buy a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. As long you pass a background check, you can purchase any of these, and you don’t need to register them.
Additionally, if you apply for a concealed carry license and you’re not prohibited from possessing a firearm or obtaining this license, you should get it.
Crimes Involving Gun Possession and Use
Though it may be relatively easy to buy or carry a gun legally, Ohio laws regulate firearm possession and use. More common Ohio gun offenses include:
- Carrying Concealed Weapons §2923.12: It’s a crime to knowingly carry or have, concealed on their person or concealed closely at hand, any handgun unless you have a license to do so. If you are concealing a handgun and are stopped by the police, you must promptly inform them of it and your license. Violating this law usually is a first-degree misdemeanor – up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine – but it can be a felony, depending on the circumstances.
- Weapon Upon Disability §2923.13: It’s not illegal for someone with a disability to have a firearm in Ohio. The “disability” in this law is something that bars you from legal gun ownership: You’re a fugitive from justice, indicted for or convicted of a violent felony or a felony involving drugs, you are dependent on drugs or alcohol, or you’ve been adjudicated mentally incompetent. If you fall under one of these categories, it’s illegal to knowingly obtain, have, carry, or use a firearm. This is a third-degree felony – up to five years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
- Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle §2923.16: You can’t legally, knowingly discharge a firearm while in a motor vehicle or knowingly transport a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle if it’s accessible to anyone in it. This could be a fourth-degree misdemeanor – maximum of 30 days in jail and a fine up to $250 – to a fourth-degree felony – up to 18 months imprisonment and a fine up to $5,000 – depending on the circumstances
- Possessing Criminal Tools §2923.24: It’s illegal for anyone to have or control any device, instrument, or article, like a firearm, with the intent to use it in a crime. This may be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor – a maximum of 180 days in jail and a fine up to $1,000 – but up to a fifth-degree felony – up to 12 months in prison and a fine up to $2,500 – if you intended to use the firearm for committing a felony
Getting Your Confiscated Gun Back
If you’re carrying a concealed weapon and are stopped, you have a legal obligation to tell the officer you have one. The officer may search you, find it, and take it from you. If the officer asks you to give it to them, do it slowly in a way that won’t make the officer feel threatened.
Under Ohio statute §2923.163, if your encounter with the officer is over and you ask it to be returned to you, but the officer refuses, the firearm must be stored and identified in a way that allows you to get it back. If you need a court order to do so and the judge rules in your favor, you might also be awarded costs and attorney’s fees.
Need Help With a Gun Issue? Contact LHA.
If you have questions about Ohio gun laws or you need an experienced attorney to defend you against a firearm-related charge, call the Columbus criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates at 614-500-3836 for a free consultation.
We have a long track record of protecting people’s right to own and carry legal firearms, have helped countless others avoid convictions, and clear up issues on firearm applications. Let our Columbus attorneys help you too.