Constitutional laws are laws that regulate and set the legal parameters for what the federal, state, and local governments in the United States can do. The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states “[a] well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
Although the Second Amendment provides that an individual’s right to bear arms “shall not be infringed,” there are numerous state and Federal laws that regulate an individual’s right to possess a firearm.
In addition to Federal laws regarding gun ownership and control, each state in the United States also has its own constitution and set of laws which governs its specific citizens. In 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applies to the states.
This means that state gun control laws across the United States began to be further questioned in terms of their constitutionality. However, the Supreme Court provided few indications regarding what types of gun restrictions would be considered constitutional, and what restrictions would be considered unconstitutional.
Am I Legally Allowed to Carry a Concealed Gun in Ohio?
Prior to June 13, 2022, qualifying adults in Ohio were allowed to carry guns openly without a license, but were required a concealed handgun license to carry a concealed gun. The license would last a total of five years from the date it was obtained. In order to obtain this license, Ohio residents were required to complete eight hours of training, as well as a background check to carry a concealed firearm.
The background check included a federal background check maintained and administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), which checked the individual’s criminal background. Additionally, concealed weapon license holders were required to disclose to law enforcement, if they approached law enforcement, that they were carrying a concealed gun.
Post June 13, 2022, Ohio joined 22 other states to become a “constitutional carry” state. This means that as of June 13, 2022, individuals over 21 years of age or older in Ohio are legally allowed to carry a concealed weapon, without the prior required training or background checks. Specifically, the law states that “[a] person who is a qualifying adult shall not be required to obtain a concealed handgun license in order to carry in this state.”
The law also states that concealed handguns are not a restricted firearm in the state of Ohio. Therefore, so long as an individual is 21 years of age or older, they may buy and conceal carry a gun without a license, background check, or training.
Additionally, the new law eliminated the requirement that an individual had to announce if they were concealed carrying a gun if they were approached by law enforcement. It is important to note that Ohio residents may still choose to obtain a concealed carry weapon license. In fact, one of the many reasons to still obtain the license is that Ohio has reciprocity agreements with 38 states that permit the carrying of concealed weapons with the possession of a concealed carry weapon license.
Further, many state Sheriff’s offices have recommended the training, as it provides individuals with training on proper gun safety, gun storage, gun handling, and a deeper understanding of the gun laws in the state.
Are There Any Restrictions on Concealed Carry or Possession of a Gun Under the New Law?
In short, yes, there are still many restrictions and laws that regulate an individual’s right to possession of guns in Ohio. One major restriction on an individual’s ability to concealed carry or possess a firearm is whether or not the individual is a “qualifying adult.” A qualifying adult in Ohio is any person that:
- Is over the age of 21;
- Has not been convicted of a felony;
- Is not a fugitive from justice;
- Has not been legally adjudicated as mentally defective or committed to a mental health institution;
- Has no previous conviction regarding domestic violence of drug trafficking;
- Is not an unlawful or illegal alien;
- Has not been dishonorably discharged from the United States military; and
- Is not currently subject to a protective order, whether temporary in nature or permanent.
Therefore, if an individual does meet one of the qualifying adult standards above, they will not be allowed to carry or possess a gun in the state of Ohio. Possession of a gun when an individual is not a qualified adult is a crime that is punishable as a felony of the third degree.
In addition to the qualifying adult restriction, there are certain guns that remain illegal to possess in Ohio. For example, automatic firearms, sawed-off guns, guns designed for a military purpose, and guns with the identification removed are all not allowed. Further, individual’s are not allowed to carry their guns, concealed or not, in certain areas. Those areas include, but are not limited to:
- Law enforcement stations or posts;
- Ohio correctional institutions or other detention facilities;
- School safety zones, such as the school building, school premises, school bus, or school grounds for school related activities;
- Places of worship, unless the location permits otherwise;
- Courthouses or any building in which a court is located;
- In a bar or place that serves alcohol, unless you are not drinking;
- Airport terminals or airplanes past screening; and/or
- Other government facilities, unless local ordinances or policies permit otherwise.
It is important to note that some individuals will be able to possess their firearms in some of these locations. For instance, a law enforcement officer acting in their official duties will be able to open and concealed carry at courthouses, etc.
What Else Should I Know About Ohio’s Gun Laws?
As noted above, the changes in Ohio’s gun laws are very recent. Therefore, it is important to properly review all of the new changes that went into effect as of June 13, 2022, prior to exercising your legal rights to concealed carry a gun. It is important to note that Ohio has always been a permitless open carry state, so you should feel confident in carrying a legal weapon openly.
However, if you are not a qualifying adult, or concealed carry a weapon in a place where doing so is not permitted, you may face harsh criminal penalties. Once again, such crimes are punishable as a felony. Felony charges carry severe criminal penalties including heavy criminal fines, imprisonment of up to 3 years or more, or a combination of both.
In addition to prison and criminal fines, being convicted of a felony may also affect your right to possess a firearm moving forward. Being convicted of a felony may also affect your right to obtain professional licenses, obtain a driver’s license, and remove your right to vote.
Do I Need A Lawyer For Help With Ohio Gun Laws?
As can be seen, the Ohio gun laws have changed very recently. Therefore, if you have any questions regarding the new laws, it may be in your best interests to consult with a local Ohio criminal defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be aware of all of the new law changes, and be able to advise you accordingly to avoid any criminal charges.
If you are facing criminal charges regarding Ohio gun laws, it is important to immediately consult with an experienced Ohio criminal defense attorney. As mentioned above, violations of gun control laws are serious crimes, and carry harsh criminal penalties. An experienced attorney can advise you if there are any legal defenses that may be asserted in your case, as well as represent your interests in court, as necessary.