Though you are allowed to possess and own a firearm in the state of Ohio, there are still strict laws and regulations that come along with gun ownership. Lawmakers have put these regulations in place in order to keep communities safe, and gun owners are ordered to responsibly handle their firearms at all times.
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the crime, being convicted of improper handling of a firearm can cause an individual to face serious jail time, permanently staining their criminal record in the process. However, it is also important to remember that not every charge or accusation has to result in a conviction. Hiring a criminal defense attorney can help you navigate your case and assist you in successfully putting together a legal defense.
If you have been charged with improper handling of a firearm, you’ll need to be knowledgeable on the laws surrounding this type of criminal charge, and to accomplish that, you’ll need the help of a criminal defense lawyer. Independent research is never a bad thing, but if you expect to have a viable defense that can potentially cause a dismissal or reduction of your charges, you must start by hiring a defense attorney.
Sabol Mallory LLC is an experienced law firm that specializes in criminal defense. With years of experience working with clients who have dealt with firearm-related criminal charges, you can count on us to provide you with quality legal representation. Led by Columbus-based criminal defense attorneys Dan Sabol and Chase Mallory, our law firm serves proudly serves Franklin County, Pickaway County, Madison County, Delaware County, Licking County, and other counties located in or around the greater Columbus area. For more information on our services, call us at 614-300-5088 or visit our online contact page.
● Ohio Laws for Purchasing and Handling Firearms
● Ohio CCW Laws
● Exceptions to Improper Handling of a Firearm
● Penalties of Improper Handling of a Firearm
● Resources for Improper Handling of a Firearm in Columbus, Ohio
In the state of Oho, there are not many prerequisites that individuals must meet in order to purchase in a firearm. Typically, in this state, all an individual needs is proof of identification, as well as proof of residency in Columbus, Ohio. If you are purchasing a shotgun or rifle, you must show proof that you are 18 or older. If you are purchasing a handgun, you must show proof that you are 21 or older.
Individuals who choose to purchase firearms from a federally-licensed vendor must complete a criminal background check and complete the Bureau of ATF’s Form 4473. While there is typically no waiting period for firearm purchase, certain federal restrictions may apply. For example, if you have been dishonorably discharged from the military or convicted of domestic violence in the past, you may find yourself facing obstacles during your journey towards purchasing a firearm.
According to Ohio Revised Code 2923.16, improper handling of a firearm takes place when an individual:
● Knowingly discharges a firearm while inside or on top of a motor vehicle
● Knowingly transports or possesses a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle
● Knowingly transports or possesses a firearm in a motor vehicle without securing it in a closed package, case, or box; in a compartment that can be reached only by leaving the vehicle; or in a holder or rack that is in plain sight and specifically made for the purpose of holding a firearm.
Individuals who are carrying concealed firearms must abide by certain laws in place in order to avoid being charged with improper handling of a firearm. Even though they may have a valid concealed carry license, they must avoid violating these strict laws if they hope to retain their license and avoid strict consequences.
CCW license holders will face. If you are in possession of your weapon while being stopped by a law enforcement officer, you must let the officer know you are a CCW license holder and you are currently in possession of your concealed weapon. In addition to this, you must comply with any lawful order given to you, and you must keep both hands in plain sight throughout the encounter. CCW license holders are not allowed to reach for their concealed handguns or attempt to make contact with their firearm. Failure to abide by these guidelines can result in misdemeanor and/or felony charges.
Exceptions to Improper Handling of a Firearm
There are strict laws that pertain to firearm handling in Ohio, but there are also exceptions to these laws. For example, law enforcement and police officers are allowed to transport loaded firearms in their motor vehicles while they are performing essential tasks and operating within the scope of their duties. Outside of law enforcement, there are a few more exceptions you should be aware of.
Individuals who are partaking in hunting activities may be exempt from certain improper firearm handling charges. If a person is transporting a firearm while they are parked on a road that is owned or administrated by the division of wildlife, in possession of a valid electric all-purpose vehicle permit, and located on top of inside the vehicle during an open hunting season, they typically will not have to worry about potential improper firearm handling charges.
If you are a private property owner, you should know that transporting a loaded firearm on your own property is allowed under certain circumstances. If a property owner was transporting a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle for a law purpose and the vehicle in question was located on the individual’s privately owned property, they may be exempt from improper handling charges. However, the exemption will not be valid if the individual was found illegally transporting or possessing the loaded firearm immediately before being found at their property.
Agricultural professionals are allowed to possess and transport loaded firearms in motor vehicles under certain circumstances. The transportation must take place on a property located in an unincorporated area of the township, and the individual in possession of the firearm must be the owner of the property or a tenant, spouse, or child of the property owner. In addition to this, the property must be used for agriculture and agricultural purposes.
Improper handling a firearm in Columbus, Ohio can carry many different penalties. The consequences of this crime are heavily dependent on the circumstances and events surrounding the alleged offense. Because of this, the potential penalties for this crime can be as severe as a fourth-degree felony, but it can also be classified as a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
For starters, individuals who fail to secure their firearm in an appropriate place while transporting it in a motor vehicle can be charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor. As previously mentioned, Ohio laws define an appropriate secured place as a closed box, package, case, or a designated holster that is in plain sight. Failure to properly secure a firearm in a motor vehicle can result in a 30-day jail sentence as well as a $250 fine.
Being under the influence of alcohol can greatly worsen this crime. If an individual is found intoxicated, this can be upgraded to a fifth-degree felony, which can carry a 12-month prison sentence alongside a fine not to exceed $2,500. If they are also found concealing their firearm, they can be charged with a fourth-degree felony.
Individuals who are concealed carry license holders must also be aware of the potential penalties that come along with the improper handling of a firearm. During traffic stops, CC license holders must inform police officers and law enforcement officials of their firearm if they are in possession of it, or keep it in plain sight throughout the traffic stop. Failure to do this can result in an immediate suspension of the concealed carry license as well as a first-degree misdemeanor charge, carrying possible penalties such as 180 days behind bars in addition to a fine that can be as expensive as $1,000. Individuals who fail to remain in their vehicle, keep their hands in plain sight, or comply with lawful orders can be charged with an additional first-degree misdemeanor.
CC license holders must not reach for or make contact with their firearm during an encounter with a police officer. If an individual is found touching their firearm while being approached by a law enforcement official, they will be charged with a fifth-degree felony.
Ohio's Concealed Carry Laws and License Application - This link takes you to an official summary of Ohio’s concealed carry laws. Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost provided this resource to help citizens learn more about the duties that accompany holding a concealed handgun license, who can hold a CCW license, and how to apply.
Current Gun Laws in Ohio: A Quick Reference Guide - This link takes you to the official website of Innovation Ohio, a non-profit organization that helps Ohio citizens learn more about gun safety, gun policies, and much more. Here, you can learn more about the current gun laws in Ohio.
Ohio Gun Laws - This link takes you to the official website of the National Rifle Administration Institute for Legislative Action. This resource provides you with an overview of gun laws in Ohio, and other information such as which states recognize Ohio’s CCW permit, as well as recent gun-related news in Ohio.
Criminal charges related to firearm mishandling can cause permanent stains to appear on your criminal record. If you have been charged with or accused of improper handling of a firearm in Columbus, Ohio, you must call a criminal defense attorney as quickly as possible. Hire the right professionals by choosing Sabol Mallory LLC, a law firm based in Columbus. Lawyers Dan Sabol and Chase Mallory have years of experience helping local citizens defend their rights.
Serving Columbus, Reynoldsburg, Bexley, and many other communities in Ohio, Sabol Mallory LLC has everything you need to effectively fight your improper handling of a firearm charge. For more information on how we can help you, contact us today at 614-300-5088 to set up your free consultation with a member of our staff.