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Ohio Gun Control Laws

A combination of federal and state gun control laws regulates the purchase and use of firearms throughout the country. State gun control laws tend to vary quite a bit. Ohio gun control laws prohibit certain weapons while restricting gun purchases and ownership by certain individuals.

For instance, no one may possess a sawed-off shotgun, which allows easy concealment and maximum damage; a "zip" gun, which refers to improvised and often dangerous firearms; or weapons and ammunition designed specifically for military use.

Certain convicted felons (but not all) are prohibited from owning firearms, as are individuals with substance abuse problems or who are deemed mentally incompetent. Ohio does not require a waiting period prior to purchasing a gun and only requires background checks for guns purchased from federally licensed dealers. If you buy from a private seller or unlicensed dealership, you are not required to have a background check.

The main provisions of Ohio gun control laws are listed in the table below.

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

Ohio Revised Code, Title 29 Crimes-Procedure, Sections 2923.11 through 2923.25

Illegal Arms

The following firearms are illegal in Ohio:
  • Automatic firearm (firearm designed or specially adapted to fire a succession of cartridges with a single function of the trigger)
  • Sawed-off firearm
  • Zip gun
  • A firearm that has the name of the manufacturer, model, manufacturer's serial number, or other mark of identification altered or removed
  • Any firearm designed and manufactured for military purposes, and the ammunition for that weapon

Waiting Period

Ohio does not require a waiting period to purchase a firearm.

Who May Not Own

The following people may not own or possess a firearm:
  • A fugitive from justice
  • A person who is under indictment for or has been convicted of any violent felony offense or has been adjudicated a delinquent child for an offense that would have been a violent felony offense if committed by an adult
  • A person who is under indictment for or has been convicted of any felony drug offense or has been adjudicated a delinquent child for a drug offense that would have been a felony if committed by an adult
  • A person who is drug dependent, in danger of drug dependence, or a chronic alcoholic
  • A person who is under adjudication of mental incompetence has been adjudicated as a mental defective, has been committed to a mental institution, has been found by a court to be a mentally ill person subject to a court order, or is an involuntary patient other than one who is a patient only for purposes of observation

License Required?

Ohio does not require a license to own a firearm.

Concealed Carry License Required?

A person may only carry a concealed handgun if they have a valid concealed handgun license.

Open Carried Allowed?

Open carry is permitted except in locations where the possession of firearms is prohibited by law.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

To obtain a concealed handgun license, a person must:
  • Be legally living in the United States
  • Be at least twenty-one years of age
  • Not be a fugitive from justice
  • Not be under indictment for or otherwise charged with a felony, certain drug offenses, a violent misdemeanor offense, a violation of section 2903.14 or 2923.1211 of the Revised Code.
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or certain drug offenses
  • Not have been convicted of certain misdemeanors
  • Not have a court finding that of mental defectiveness, incompetence, or illness and has not been committed to any mental institution
  • Not be currently subject to a protection order
  • Certify that the concealed handgun is for the defense of the applicant or a member of the applicant's family
  • Submit a competency certification and certification that the applicant read the pamphlet prepared by the Ohio peace officer training commission
  • Not be subject to a suspension of a concealed handgun license
  • Be employed in Ohio if the applicant resides in another state
  • Certify that the applicant is not an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance
  • Not have been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa if the applicant is not a United States citizen
  • Not have been discharged from the armed forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions
  • Not have renounced their citizenship

Machine Gun Laws

Ohio has no specific prohibition against machine guns, but most machine guns are banned by Ohio's automatic firearm ban. Additionally, You must register your machine gun in compliance with federal law.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

  • Ohio has a wide range of penalties for violating its gun control laws. Some violations are misdemeanors, but others are felonies.
  • A second conviction of some gun crimes can increase the severity of the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony.
  • A misdemeanor conviction can lead up to 180 days imprisonment and a maximum fine up to $1,000.Felony convictions for gun possession offenses can result in a maximum sentence of 1 to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

  • Possessing a gun in a school safety zone is a fifth-degree felony. The penalty is imprisonment up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500.
  • A second or subsequent offense is a fourth-degree felony. The punishment is up to 18 months imprisonment and up to a $5,000 fine.
  • Illegal possession of an object indistinguishable from a firearm in a school safety zone is a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalty is up to 180 days imprisonment and a maximum fine up to $1,000.A
  • A second or subsequent illegal possession of an object indistinguishable from a firearm in a school safety zone is a fifth-degree felony. The penalty is imprisonment up to 12 months and a fine of up to $2,500.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Ohio Gun Control Laws: Related Resources

An Attorney Can Help With Your Gun Law Questions

Ohio firearm laws are complex, and federal law also contains gun control laws. If you want to ensure your ownership of a gun does not violate the law, or if you charged with a gun offense, you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Ohio.

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