WEAPONS OFFENSES

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution has been interpreted to allow individuals to possess firearms for self-defense.  However, the federal and state governments are permitted to regulate the possession and transportation of firearms.  Like many states, Ohio is a state that has very particular and specific laws on carrying, possessing, and transporting weapons.


CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON (CCW)

GETTING A CCW LICENSE

Ohio is a state that allows individuals to carry a concealed weapon (CCW) as long as they meet certain requirements.  The following information comes from the Ohio Attorney General official manual on Carrying Concealed Weapons, which is an easy-to-digest resource on how to stay in compliance with the law while carrying a concealed weapon.

  • A person who desires to obtain a CCW license must show that they’re competent in firearms. To prove their competency in firearms, the person must demonstrate these requirements:
    • Competency:  Complete an approved and recognized firearms training course. Generally, a firearms training course must be at least 8 hours, with 2 hours dedicated to in-person training that involves actually discharging firearms.
    • Age requirement:  To legally obtain a CCW license in Ohio, the applicant must be at least 21 years old.
    • Application: Submit an application for a CCW license to the either the County Sheriff where they reside, or an adjoining county. The application includes a criminal history background check and payment of a fee to the County Sheriff.
  • The County Sheriff will deny the application for a CCW license if any of the following apply to the applicant:
    • The applicant has a suspended CCW license from another state.
    • The applicant lives in another state, and is not employed in Ohio.
    • The applicant is addicted to or unlawfully using controlled substances.
    • The applicant is a “nonimmigrant alien” legally in the United States, but without a visa.
    • The applicant was dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
    • The applicant has renounced their United States citizenship.
    • The applicant has a disqualifying criminal conviction or disqualifying pending criminal case.

These criminal convictions or pending criminal cases disqualify a CCW license applicant:

  • Under indictment, charged with, or convicted of any felony;
  • Under indictment or charged with any misdemeanor offense of violence;
  • Under indictment, charged with, or convicted of negligent assault;
  • Under indictment, charged with, or convicted of illegal use, sale, possession, administration, distribution, or trafficking of a drug of abuse;
  • Convicted of domestic violence;
  • Convicted of assaulting a peace officer;
  • Convicted of any misdemeanor offense of violence within 3 years;
  • Convicted of 2 or more assault offenses within 5 years;
  • Convicted of 2 or more negligent assault offenses within 5 years;
  • Convicted of resisting arrest within 10 years.
  • Being the subject of a protection order;
  • Adjudicated mentally defective, committed to any mental institution, under a current adjudication of incompetence, found by a court to be mentally ill subject to hospitalization by court order, or an involuntary patient other than one who is a patient only for purposes of observation.

CCW - Violations of the law

In Ohio, it is illegal to knowingly carry or have a concealed deadly weapon, handgun, or dangerous ordnance. This law applies to people who conceal one of these weapons without a valid CCW license.

However, just because a person has a CCW license doesn’t mean that they’re absolutely immune from firearms laws. CCW licensees must be careful when they’re lawfully carrying and they encounter a law enforcement officer. CCW licensees must exercise common sense and good judgment. They should refrain from making quick or sudden movements. Hands should be out of the licensee's pockets. And the licensee must always promptly inform a law enforcement officer of their status as a CCW license.  CCW licensees must be careful to avoid doing any of these acts:

 

  • Fail to promptly inform a law enforcement officer who stops a CCW licensee for a “law enforcement purpose” (e.g., a traffic stop) that the licensee has a CCW license and is presently carrying a concealed handgun.

 

  • Knowingly fail to keep their hands in plain sight when stopped by an officer for a law enforcement purpose and the officer begins approaching the person.

 

  • Knowingly remove or attempts to remove a loaded handgun, knowingly grasp or hold the handgun, or touch or hold the handgun with the licensee’s hands or fingers when stopped by an officer for a law enforcement purpose.

 

  • Knowingly disregard or fail to comply with a law enforcement officer’s order when stopped by an officer for a law enforcement purpose.

 

 

CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON possible penalties:

  • F3 (felony of the third degree)
  • F4 (felony of the fourth degree)
  • F5 (felony of the fifth degree)
  • M1 (misdemeanor of the first degree)
  • M2 (misdemeanor of the second degree)
  • M3 (misdemeanor of the third degree)
  • M4 (misdemeanor of the fourth degree)
  • MM (minor misdemeanor)

ILLEGAL CONVEYANCE

This cannot be stressed enough: a CCW license is not free reign to carry a firearm into any area at anytime.  CCW licensee’s must comply with the laws that prohibited possession of firearms in certain areas. The act of illegally carrying a concealed firearm in one of these areas is known as ILLEGAL CONVEYANCE.

Despite having a valid CCW license, it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon in any of the following areas:

  • Airport terminals or airplanes beyond screening checkpoint or other restricted areas
  • Correctional institutions or other detention facilities
  • Courthouses and courtrooms
  • Facilities for the care of mentally ill persons
  • Government facilities that are not used primarily as a shelter, restroom, parking facility for motor vehicles, or rest facility. Specific government entities may allow you to carry by statute, ordinance, or policy.
  • Licensed Class D liquor permit premises, if you are consuming beer or intoxicating liquor or are under the influence. (A Class D permit is generally issued to an establishment that sells alcohol for consumption on the premises.) If you are not consuming, and not under the influence, the CCW licensee may carry unless there is a conspicuous sign prohibiting carry. Possession of a concealed firearm is allowed in a retail store with a D-6 or D-8 permit as long as the concealed carry license holder is not consuming liquor.
  • Places of worship, unless specifically permitted
  • Police stations, sheriffs' offices, Ohio State Highway Patrol Posts;
  • Premises controlled by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation;
    Universities, unless specifically permitted
  • School safety zones

ILLEGAL CONVEYANCE possible penalties:

  • F4 (felony of the fourth degree)
  • F5 (felony of the fifth degree)

HAVING WEAPONS UNDER DISABILITY

Ohio law prohibits certain individuals from obtaining a CCW license or carrying firearms. Those prohibited people are under a disability; that is, they are not permitted to carry firearms because they, for example, have a conviction of a felony offense of violence on their record. This offense is known as HAVING WEAPONS UNDER DISABILITY.

It is illegal for individuals to knowingly acquire, have, carry, or use firearms.  The following is a list of disabilities to carry firearms:

  • Being fugitive from justice;
  • Being under indictment for or convicted of any felony offense of violence;
  • Being under indictment for or convicted of any felony offense involving illegal administration, distribution, possession, sale, trafficking, or use of drugs;
  • A drug dependent person or chronic alcoholic;
  • Being adjudicated mentally incompetent or otherwise committed to a mental institution;

Individuals who are under a firearms disability may request relief from weapons disability by filing an application in the court of common pleas where the person first became subject to the disability.

HAVING WEAPONS UNDER DISABILITY possible penalties:

  • F3 (felony of the third degree)

IMPROPER HANDLING OF FIREARMS IN A MOTOR VEHICLE

When a person brings a firearm into a vehicle, a new set of laws apply. The Ohio legislature amended the IMPROPER HANDLING OF FIREARMS IN A MOTOR VEHICLE statute to allow a concealed handgun license holder to transport a loaded, concealed handgun in a motor vehicle. However, even a CCW licensee may not have a loaded handgun in the vehicle if that person is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

This offense reads very similarly to CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON, but obviously applies in scenarios when a person is in possession of a handgun in a motor vehicle. This offense also outlaws discharging a firearm while in or on a motor vehicle.

IMPROPER HANDLING OF FIREARMS IN A MOTOR VEHICLE possible penalties:

  • F4 (felony of the fourth degree)
  • F5 (felony of the fifth degree)
  • M1 (misdemeanor of the first degree)
  • M4 (misdemeanor of the fourth degree)
  • MM (minor misdemeanor)

USING WEAPONS WHILE INTOXICATED

Guns and alcohol and/or drugs don’t mix. For that reason, it is illegal in Ohio for an individual to carry a firearm while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. This offense is known as USING WEAPONS WHILE INTOXICATED.

USING WEAPONS WHILE INTOXICATED possible penalties:

  • M1 (misdemeanor of the first degree)

DISCHARGE OF FIREARMS IN PROHIBITED AREAS

Discharging a weapon in a public area can cause chaos and pandemonium and subject others to injury or death. For these reasons, Ohio law prohibits DISCHARGE OF FIREARMS IN PROHIBITED AREAS. The prohibited areas for this offense include:

  • At or into an occupied structure that is someone’s home;
  • At, in, or into a school safety zone;
  • Within 1,000 feet of any school buildings or boundaries, if the shooter’s intent was to (1) cause physical harm to another who is in the school area; (2) cause panic or fear; or (3) cause the evacuation of the school area;
  • Upon, over, or within 100 yards of a cemetery;
  • On a schoolhouse, church, or charitable institution, including adjacent property;
  • On an inhabited dwelling;
  • On the property of another; or
  • Upon or over a public road or highway.

DISCHARGE OF FIREARMS IN PROHIBITED AREAS possible penalties:

  • F1 (felony of the first degree)
  • F2 (felony of the second degree)
  • F3 (felony of the third degree)
  • M1 (misdemeanor of the first degree)
  • M4 (misdemeanor of the fourth degree)

POSSESSING A DEFACED FIREARM

Defacing a firearm -- for example, by altering the serial number -- is a serious offense under Ohio and federal law. Under Ohio law, the offense of POSSESSION OF A DEFACED FIREARM makes it illegal to change, alter, remove, or obliterate the name of the manufacturer, model, manufacturer’s serial number, or other identification mark on a firearm. It is also illegal to possess a firearm if the person possessing it knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the weapon was defaced.

POSSESSING A DEFACED FIREARM possible penalties:

  • F4 (felony of the fourth degree)
  • M1 (misdemeanor of the first degree)

UNLAWFUL TRANSACTION IN WEAPONS

It's common for people to pass down firearms to younger generations of their family. However Ohio has laws that prohibit an UNLAWFUL TRANSACTION IN WEAPONS. Certain weapons, such as brass knuckles and knives, are illegal to possess and sell. This offense makes it illegal to:

  • Knowingly fail to report the loss or theft of a firearm;
  • Recklessly sell, lend, give, or furnish a firearm to a person who is under a weapons disability, or  sell, lend, give, or furnish a firearm to a person who is under the influence of alcohol and or/drugs; or
  • Manufacture, sell, or furnish brass knuckles, cestus, billy, blackjack, sandbag, switchblade knife, gravity knife, or similar weapons.
    • Brass knuckles are metal rings placed on a person’s fist to increase the effect of a punch
    • A cestus is a glove or hand-covering that has metal studs attached to it.
    • A billy is a heavy wooden stick that is used as a weapon.  A blackjack is a similar weapon, but covered in leather (also known as a nightstick).

UNLAWFUL TRANSACTION IN WEAPONS possible penalties:

  • F4 (felony of the fourth degree)
  • M2 (misdemeanor of the second degree)
  • M4 (misdemeanor of the fourth degree)

IMPROPERLY FURNISHING FIREARMS TO A MINOR

Adults must be careful when handling firearms in close proximity to minors. It is important for individuals to comply with Ohio’s IMPROPERLY FURNISHING FIREARMS TO A MINOR statute. This offense makes it illegal to:

  • Furnish a firearm to a person under 18 years old or a handgun to a person under 21 years old, except for lawful educational, hunting, or sporting purposes under adult supervision;
  • Purchase or attempt to purchase a firearm with the intent to sell or furnish it to a person under 18 years old;
  • Purchase or attempt to purchase a handgun with the intent to sell or furnish it to a person under 21 years old;
  • Sell a firearm to a person under 18 years old;
  • Sell a handgun to a person under 21 years old;
  • Sell or furnish a firearm if the seller or furnisher knows or has reason to know that the person buying the firearm will sell it to a person under 18 years old; or
  • Sell or furnish a handgun if the seller or furnisher knows or has reason to know that the person buying the handgun will sell it to a person under 21 years old.

IMPROPERLY FURNISHING FIREARMS TO A MINOR possible penalties:

  • F5 (felony of the fifth degree)

 

COLUMBUS WEAPONS OFFENSES ATTORNEY | COLUMBUS GUN ATTORNEY

Contact The Stavroff Law Firm today to learn about your rights and begin building your defense.