In 2022, Ohio enacted new concealed handgun laws. Now that Ohio is a “permitless carry” state for handguns, you should know what this means legally so you are not in violation and exposed to potential charges.
New Ohio Concealed Carry Gun Laws
In June 2022, Ohio became the 23rd state to enact new concealed carry laws allowing individuals to carry a concealed handgun without a permit.
Also commonly referred to as “constitutional carry,” it is important for all Ohio residents who wish to exercise their right to bear arms to be sure they know how to handle their firearms and understand that constitutional carry laws do not allow you to carry a concealed weapon or firearm anywhere you go.
Laws in place may limit the areas in which you can concealed carry.
Under the law, you may not carry a concealed handgun into the following places:
- Police stations
- Sheriff’s offices
- Highway Patrol Posts
- Premises controlled by BCI
- Correctional institutions or other detention facilities
- Airport terminals or airplanes beyond the checkpoint
- Facilities for the care of mentally ill persons
- Universities, unless expressly permitted
- Places of worship, unless the place of worship permits otherwise
- Specific state and federal government facilities
- School safety zones (schools, school buildings, school premises, school activities, and school buses)
If you have a CHL, you may have a concealed handgun in a school safety zone. If you leave the gun in the motor vehicle, the firearm does not leave the car, and if you leave the vehicle, you lock the vehicle.
Permitless carriers cannot carry a firearm into a school safety zone. Doing so is a felony under state and federal law under ORC 2923.12, 2923.121, 2923.122, 2923.126 15.
Concealed Weapons in Bars & Restaurants
You may carry a concealed gun into a bar, restaurant, or other places in which alcohol is sold if:
- You have not already consumed and do not consume alcohol on the premises
- Firearms are not expressly prohibited
Concealed Weapons in Motor Vehicles
You may transport a loaded concealed handgun in a vehicle, but not if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Also, if you are stopped by law enforcement in a traffic stop and carry a concealed handgun, you are no longer required to inform the officer that you have a weapon. But, if the officer asks whether you are carrying, you must answer truthfully. Violations are first-degree misdemeanors.
Ways to Carry a Concealed Weapon in Ohio
Primarily, any eligible Ohioan can constitutionally carry a concealed handgun without a permit. However, the law also preserves the concealed carry licensing program, which includes a photo ID card.
But, since any Ohio resident (age 21 or older) can carry a concealed weapon without a permit if they have not been prohibited, concealed carry permits are no longer required.
Can You Still Face Gun Charges?
Yes, it is important to remember that just because the state now follows constitutional carry laws does not mean there are no instances in which you could still face criminal charges for possessing a firearm.
Some of the more common weapons or gun-related criminal offenses include:
- Improper handling of a firearm in a vehicle
- Operating a vehicle while intoxicated with a firearm
- Convicted felon in possession of a firearm
- Having a weapon under a disability
You could also face criminal charges if you make a mistake on your gun application. Although you may no longer be required to obtain a concealed carry permit, you may still opt to do so. Making a mistake on this application could result in criminal charges if you are not careful.
What Impacts Your Right to Carry a Firearm in Ohio?
Anyone living in Ohio who meets the eligibility requirements has the right to carry a concealed weapon. Although there are no official permitting requirements currently if you opt to obtain a concealed carry permit, you still need to meet the requirements, which include the following:
- Being 21 years of age or older
- Residing in the state of Ohio for a minimum of 45 days
- Not being under indictment, charged with us, or convicted of a felony
- Not being a fugitive from justice
- Not being convicted of resisting arrest within the last 10 years
- Not being charged with or indicted for a violent misdemeanor offense within the previous three years
- Not being convicted of negligent assault with a deadly weapon
- Not being charged with or indicted for negligent assault with a dangerous ordnance
- Not being charged with, convicted of, or under indictment for any drug-related offense
- Not being found mentally incompetent or defective
- Not having a protective order taken out against you in any state
You will also be required to complete a firearm safety training course that shows your competency in the use and safety of guns and other weapons. However, if you do not need the previously mentioned requirements or are expressly prohibited from being in possession of, owning, or selling firearms, and you are found concealed carrying, you risk harsh criminal penalties.
What If You Already Have a Concealed Carry Gun Permit in Ohio?
There is no legal requirement that you have a concealed carry permit in Ohio. However, since you can obtain a concealed carry permit, you may choose to do so if you hope to carry in states where a permit is required or follow reciprocity laws.
Generally, if you meet the qualification requirements, law enforcement officers are required to issue your license to carry a concealed firearm. Law enforcement officials can reject your application if you do not meet these requirements.
However, due to Ohio’s new concealed carry laws, this will mean your application for a concealed carry permit has been denied, not that you have lost your right to constitutional carry.
Charged with a Gun Crime? Speak To an Ohio Gun Lawyer
If you have been accused of violating Ohio’s new concealed carry laws or charged with any weapons offense, reach out to a reputable Ohio gun charge lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates for a confidential and free case review. Call (614) 500-3836 to learn more about how we can help.