Ohio’s new constitutional carry laws have gone into effect, and over the last few weeks, many responsible gun owners have wondered how the new law will impact their rights. Understanding the permitless carry laws will be of utmost importance if you own a firearm.
What Is Ohio’s New Concealed Carry Law?
As of June 13, 2022, Ohio is officially a “permitless carry” or “constitutional carry” state. This means gun owners are no longer required by law to obtain a concealed handgun license (CHL) to have a handgun in their car or on them.
However, Ohio law still requires gun owners to be a minimum of 21 years of age to legally possess a firearm. Permitless carriers are not allowed to carry a handgun within their vehicle when entering a school safety zone but are otherwise subject to the same state and federal laws CHL holders carry.
The constitutional carry laws will not prevent businesses from being allowed to prohibit firearms within their establishments. It will still be illegal to carry concealed weapons in school buildings, courthouses, or other types of mandated properties.
Constitutional Carry Only Applies to Handguns in Ohio
It is important to note that the new constitutional carry laws will only apply to handguns. It is still illegal for permitless carriers to carry shotguns, rifles, and other types of long guns without a permit.
Do You Have to Tell the Police You’re Carrying?
You have no legal obligation under the new constitutional carry laws to disclose that you have a handgun when police stop you. However, if police ask if you are carrying a weapon, you are required by law to answer truthfully.
Failure to inform a police officer that you are carrying a weapon after being asked violates the law and could be charged as a first-degree misdemeanor. You could pay fines as high as $1,000 and face as much as 180 days in county jail if convicted.
You still must inform the police you are carrying a weapon if you are carrying any other type of weapon other than a handgun.
Permits Are Still Available
Although you are no longer required to obtain a CHL to possess a handgun, they are still available. The Ohio Attorney General recommends getting your CHL for safety instruction, training experience, and having the ability to carry in other states. If you obtain your CHL, you can skip a background check when you purchase a firearm.
CHL training includes eight hours of in-person instruction where you will learn how to:
- Operate a handgun
- Handle a gun and ammunition safely
- Practice shooting a pistol safely at a shooting range
- Become familiar with Ohio’s concealed carry, constitutional carry, and self-defense laws
Can You Carry Outside Ohio?
You have the right to carry outside of Ohio, but you are required to adhere to the laws of the state in which you are traveling. Many states have reciprocity agreements that allow citizens to carry firearms outside Ohio.
However, some states do not have reciprocity agreements in place. They do not recognize an Ohioan’s CHL, nor will they recognize an Ohioan’s ability to carry without a permit.
You could face criminal penalties if you violate another state’s gun laws. Make sure you understand the laws where you are traveling before exercising your Ohio right to carry in that state.
Penalties for Violating Concealed Carry Laws
If you are found in violation of concealed carry laws, you could still face criminal charges. This is generally a misdemeanor but could be charged as a felony depending on the specific circumstances of your case.
If convicted of a misdemeanor, you could spend time in jail and be ordered to pay fines as high as $1,000. However, convicted of a felony, you could spend as much as 18 months in prison.
Furthermore, you could face many collateral consequences if you are found guilty. Some of these penalties could include:
- Risk of your naturalization application being denied
- Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
- Trouble maintaining employment
- Difficulty finding a job
- Loss of child custody or visitation rights
- Loss of firearm rights
These are only a few ways your life could be affected if you are guilty of a gun charge. Violating concealed carry laws could have a devastating impact on your life.
Fortunately, with the constitutional carry laws in place, you should now be able to carry your handgun without a permit and exercise your right to bear arms responsibly without fearing prosecution.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Cincinnati for Help Today
The constitutional carry laws will significantly impact the number of gun charges filed across the state. Contact an experienced Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates for help if you find yourself arrested and facing gun-related charges.
Our firm offers no-cost, risk-free consultations to those facing gun charges across Cincinnati. Take advantage of this opportunity by calling our office at (513) 338-1890 or completing our convenient contact form.