Navigating Ohio Concealed Carry Laws Historically Has Been Challenging
Ohio concealed carry, which became a reality in 2004 as the 46th state to create a program for permits, is an examination of weapons oversight with a history of questionable choices.
Ohio ruled in the 1900 case State v. HoganKlein v. Leis
“The original statute prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons was enacted within eight years after the Constitution of 1851 was ratified. R.S. 6892, 56 Ohio Laws 56 (1859).” It wasn’t challenged until 1920 in State v. Nieto that “tramps,” lawless drifters seen as a danger and terror to society, were prohibited to bear arms. It was argued they were not under the protection of the 1851 Ohio Bill of Rights that outlines that people “have the right to bear arms for their defense and security.”
Whether or not a wandering, dangerous, potentially armed nomad, these days a gun owner is required to apply for a concealed carry handgun license in Ohio and follow a set of regulations and laws.
Ohio Concealed Carry Permits Are Attainable, But Regulated
Applying for and obtaining an Ohio concealed carry permit is a standard set of procedures not unlike many other states.
Before the process is outlined, a necessary warning: Any laws cited or procedures given are educational and not formal legal advice.
Step 1: don’t bring that handgun to the sheriff’s office when enquiring about an application.
Applicants are required to complete a training course and present certification from that course when submitting an application to a local sheriff. To satisfy the certification requirement, demonstrate competency with:
- A certificate from a firearms safety course hosted by a national gun advocacy organization, but the sheriff issuing the license must determine if the organization qualifies
- A certificate from a course open to the public and hosted by an instructor from an approved national gun advocacy organization or the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission (OPOTC)
- A document verifying completion of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Program as per ORC 109.79
- An affidavit from a qualified instructor stating the applicant has completed a course that satisfies the minimum educational requirements
- A certification from a course conducted by an instructor certified by an official or entity of Ohio, a course within another state, a course established by the United States government or a national gun advocacy organization
- A document verifying the applicant is an active or reserve armed forces member, is retired or was honorably discharged from the armed forces, is a retired highway patrol trooper or is a retired federal law enforcement officer or peace officer
- A certificate from a state, county, municipal or Ohio Department of Natural Resources peace officer training school approved by the executive director of the OPOTC
There is a threshold for each course. It must be eight hours long, two of which are in-person at a range or live-fire training scenario. Applicants must identify and demonstrate knowledge on safe handling and firing of a handgun as well as proper storage for weapons and ammunition.
The educational course must also show the applicant how to safely handle ammunition. Applicants must take a written test and demonstrate familiarity with a firearm.
The training course may be completed online, but it must include the two hour in-person live-fire training.
The Ohio Attorney General provides an online database of approved instructors based on county and last name.
Once the training is complete, pick up an application at a local county sheriff’s office. According to ORC 2923.125(A)(A) This section applies with respect to the application for and issuance by this state of concealed handgun licenses other than concealed handgun licenses on a temporary emergency basis that are issued under section 2923.1213 of the Revised Code. Upon the request of a person who wishes to obtain a concealed handgun license with respect to which this section applies or to renew a concealed handgun license with respect to which this section applies, a sheriff, as provided in division (I) of this section, shall provide to the person free of charge an application form and the web site address at which a printable version of the application form that can be downloaded and the pamphlet described in division (B) of section 109.731 of the Revised Code may be found. A sheriff shall accept a completed application form and the fee, items, materials, and information specified in divisions (B)(1) to (5) of this section at the times and in the manners described in division (I) of this section., the sheriff is required by law to provide the application without charge and indicate where it can be found online.
Call the sheriff’s office before showing up. They’re required to schedule at minimum 15 hours per week during normal business hours for time spent accepting licenses, which are valid for five years after the issue date, and their associated documents.
The application will require fingerprints and a background check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, but there are several criminal offenses and stipulations established by the state that will bar a concealed carry applicant from receiving a license after the prescribed 45-day waiting period.
- Any previous concealed carry permit from any other state must not have been suspended.
- If the applicant resides in another state, they must be at least employed in Ohio.
- The applicant cannot be addicted to or use controlled substances according to 21 U.S.C. 802(1) The term "addict" means any individual who habitually uses any narcotic drug so as to endanger the public morals, health, safety, or welfare, or who is so far addicted to the use of narcotic drugs as to have lost the power of self-control with reference to his addiction. .
- Their U.S. citizenship cannot be renounced.
- Those who have been convicted of, pleaded guilty to or been adjudicated as a delinquent child in domestic violence (section 2919.25 of the Revised Code(A) No person shall knowingly cause or attempt to cause physical harm to a family or household member. (B) No person shall recklessly cause serious physical harm to a family or household member. (C) No person, by threat of force, shall knowingly cause a family or household member to believe that the offender will cause imminent physical harm to the family or household member. ) may not apply.
- Nonimmigrant alien applicants legally living in the U.S. must have a nonimmigrant visa.
- Applicants must not have been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
- Applicants cannot have been charged with falsifying a concealed handgun license.
Those who have been charged, are under indictment or have been convicted of a felony, trafficking drugs, a misdemeanor violence offense or negligent assault should reconsider applying.
Most crimes associated with abused drugs or assaulting a peace officer will bar the applicant from a permit.
A misdemeanor violence offense within three years of submitting the application will restrict a permit. Two or more cases of assault or negligent assault within five years of the submitting the application will restrict a permit. Resisting arrest within ten years prior to submitting the application will restrict a permit.
The application and background check fees are $67 at minimum, according to ORC 2923.125(B)(1)(a), although they can and will vary by county.
Renew a concealed handgun license with a renewal application and a certification of competency within 90 days of its expiration date with a local sheriff’s office. If the license owner lived out of state and is no longer employed in Ohio, they may not renew. If they’re still employed in Ohio, they must renew with the sheriff they originally applied with.
Those with licenses awarded prior to service in armed forces, Peace Corps, Volunteers in Service to America or the Foreign Service need not reapply until six months after their service, according to the Ohio concealed carry laws manual.
Despite all of the normal application process, immediate emergency concealed handgun licenses may be issued to those with a significant need.
An immediate license will be provided when the applicant submits evidence of immediate danger, a sworn affidavit, a $15 application fee, the cost of a background check and a set of fingerprints.
The evidence of immediate danger must come in a sworn statement from the applicant that lists the actual need for instantaneous access to a concealed firearm. The applicant must also supply a written document from a government entity or public official that provides reasonable facts and evidence that support the necessity for an emergency license.
Provided that the license process is either understood or completed, the concealed carrier must adhere to regulations on when and where to carry — despite any feelings on the contrary.
Concealed Carry In Ohio Is Barred In A Few Places
There will be some who disregard where concealed carry in Ohio is prohibited because they argue that’s the whole point of the practice.
No one should know where a CCW is until it’s lawfully needed and displayed.
- Police stations
- School safety zones (with some caveats)
- Government facilities that aren’t used as a shelter, restroom, parking facility, rest facility or courthouse
- A location with a Class D liquor license, unless the concealed carrier isn’t drinking and only if there isn’t a conspicuous sign prohibiting firearms on the premises
- Child day care facilities
- Places of worship, unless otherwise posted or allowed
- Universities, unless locked in a motor vehicle
- Mental health facilities
- Airport terminals and airplanes
- Correctional institutes or detention facilities
- Any location controlled by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation
- Highway patrol posts
- Any sheriff’s office (see, step one was correct)
Carrying a firearm in a school zone is allowed, provided that the concealed carrier does not enter the school building, premises or activity.
With the right licensing, a loaded CCW can be carried in a motor vehicle or on a motorcycle in Ohio.
Private employers may prohibit firearms on their property and in vehicles they own, but under recent law employers may not prohibit firearms stored in the employee's vehicle in the parking lot.. They may also post signage barring firearms, and the law does not dictate what that sign is required to say.
There are developing laws on the various restrictions employers may place on firearms carried on their property.
Ohio Concealed Carry Reciprocity
As of March 23, 2015, ORC 109.26(A) (1) The attorney general shall negotiate and enter into a reciprocity agreement with any other license-issuing state under which a concealed handgun license that is issued by the other state is recognized in this state, except as provided in division (B) of this section, if the attorney general determines that both of the following apply: (a) The eligibility requirements imposed by that license-issuing state for that license are substantially comparable to the eligibility requirements for a concealed handgun license issued under section 2923.125 of the Revised Code. (b) That license-issuing state recognizes a concealed handgun license issued under section 2923.125 of the Revised Code. dictates how Ohio concealed carry reciprocity works. The Ohio Attorney General can negotiate and enter into a reciprocity agreement with another state, given that two criteria are fulfilled.
- The concealed handgun license requirements in the reciprocating state must be substantially comparable to those established by ORC 2923.125.
- The license-issuing state recognizes an Ohio concealed carry license.
As it stands, Ohio shares reciprocity with 40 states, and of the remaining ten, one (Connecticut) may allow Ohio concealed carry handgun licensees to apply for and receive a non-resident CHL.
The number of reciprocating states can, and very likely will, change in the near future. Stay up to date with a CCW map.
Ohio Concealed Carry Permits Today Are On The Rise, Despite A History Of Legal Battles
Legal battles challenging Ohio concealed carry laws finally proved fruitful in 2004, and since quarter four of 2014 the number of licenses issued (13,912) and licenses renewed (10,097) have risen.
Although concealed carry in Ohio was originally prohibited eight years after the 1851 Ohio Bill of Rights through R.S. 6892, 56 Ohio Laws 56 (1859), according to the Klein v. Leis Ohio Supreme Court case, it was later challenged as unconstitutional in 1920 through State v. NietoIn
State v. Nieto
(1920), 101 Ohio St. 409, 413, 130 N.E. 663
This court upheld the constitutionality of G.C. 12819, the successor of the original statute prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons.
The court stated, “The statute does not operate as a prohibition against carrying weapons, but as a regulation of the manner of carrying them,”
and found the concealed-weapons statute to be a “proper exercise of the police power of the state.”
Id. at 413, 415, 130 N.E. 663.
To explain this finding, the court quoted with favor from Dunston v. State .
That effort was not successful for gun rights activists. The court held that the prohibition against carrying concealed firearms did not go against the right to bear arms. The restriction was on the method of carrying weapons.
However, they say good things happen to those who wait and after more than a century of legal gauntlets Ohio waited far too long.
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About The Author
Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter and photographer based in the pacific northwest. He graduated from the University of Idaho with degrees in public relations and apparel.