Gun / Firearms / Weapons Charges

We have a proven track record of success in handling over 15,000 criminal cases and consistently awarded as one of Ohio’s top criminal defense firms. We are highly experienced in defenses related to guns, firearms, and weapons charges. Experience matters when dealing with these cases, which prosecutors and judges handle differently on a case by case basis. We know what to expect and what to do to get the best result possible.

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Columbus, Ohio, Gun Crime Lawyers

Ohio takes gun crimes seriously—and if you face charges, you likely know that all too well. A gun crime in Ohio can involve possessing a deadly weapon, illegally conveying a weapon, or discharging a firearm in a public place, among many other charges. But, no matter your charges, you could be concerned about what comes next if you faced an arrest. You could face prison time. Big fines. Probation. Judgment from friends and family. Your professional and personal lives could be destroyed.

As intimidating and overwhelming as these charges may seem, the team at Joslyn Law Firm is ready to step in and represent you. Our defense attorneys know what’s at stake, and we know how to fight against weapons charges.. If you were arrested for a gun-related offense, you have the right to criminal defense representation. Don’t wait to get the legal help you need. You can have a Columbus, Ohio gun crime lawyer from Joslyn Law Firm on your side.

The Joslyn Law Firm team can review your case details and identify options for a strong defense. Our attorneys know gun crime law, and we will work to build a strong defense to seek the best possible results in your case. Our team can scour the evidence against you and challenge the prosecution’s claims. For over 10 years, Joslyn Law Firm has helped countless defendants get their charges dropped or reduced, and we have even helped some clients avoid imprisonment. We want to help you avoid the worst realities of a conviction—and we know how to use our knowledge of the law, negotiation savvy, and abilities at trial to help you do just that.

Our Gun Crime Lawyer in Ohio Has Ten Years of Experience in Criminal Law

Led by attorney Brian Joslyn, the criminal defense lawyers at Joslyn Law Firm are passionately devoted to defending against all types of criminal charges and upholding the rights of citizens and criminal defendants. Everyone has the right to a lawyer, and we’re ready to treat you with the compassion and respect you need and deserve during these uncertain times.

No matter who you are, whether a white-collar professional or a student, you can find yourself facing these charges—and you can turn to us to defend you. We’re proud to say that we’re frequently named among the top criminal law firms in Ohio and in the country, and we’ll put that experience to work for you. Some of these accolades include:

  • Columbus CEO Magazine – Top Lawyer
  • The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys – 10 Best Attorneys (Client Satisfaction)
  • The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100

You have a right to the strongest possible defense, and we know how to build one. Your constitutional rights could have been violated. You may be innocent. You may have an alibi. These and other defenses could apply to your case, and we know what it takes to fight for you. Let our attorneys investigate your case and strategize the best way to protect your freedom and future.

Contact us directly by calling (614) 444-1900 or online to learn how we can help.

Ohio Firearm and Weapons Law Information Center

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Ohio Gun Laws Overview: Owner’s Rights and Restrictions

Both the Ohio Constitution and the United States Constitution protect the right of the people to “bear arms for their defense and security.”

While the right “to keep and bear arms” is subsumed within the general rights of Ohio’s citizens, it is not an inalienable right. This means Ohio citizens can lose the right to keep and bear arms, and both Ohio and federal statutes lawfully regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition within the state of Ohio.

Openly Carrying Firearms in Ohio

In traditional open carry states such as Ohio, anyone who lawfully possesses a firearm may openly carry the same without a permit or license. This means the firearm is not hidden on your person or even partially concealed, and a reasonable person could easily identify that you are carrying a firearm.

A “firearm” is defined as a “deadly weapon” capable of expelling one or more projectiles by using an explosion or combustible propellant, and the definition includes unloaded and “inoperable” firearms provided they are easily rendered operable.

Ohio Concealed Carry Weapons Permits

In Ohio, your permitting requirements vary depending on whether you intend to carry a concealed weapon. Ohio law prohibits persons from carrying concealed firearms on their bodies or readily at hand, e.g., in a purse, unless the firearm qualifies as a handgun and the carrier possesses a concealed handgun license. This means that you are carrying the firearm such that portions of the same are concealed to the naked eye, including in a fully concealed holster, under a jacket, or in a purse.

Ohio residents must apply for a concealed handgun license (or concealed carry permit), which includes passing a criminal background check. To qualify for a concealed carry permit in Ohio, the applicant must live or work in the state, be over 21, complete safety training, and pass a criminal background check, among other requirements.

Ohio State Firearms Restrictions

The state imposes several limits on firearms sales and purchases, possession and use, and permitting requirements.

For instance, the State of Ohio limits the sale of handguns. A handgun is defined as a “short stock” firearm designed for one-handed operation. Ohio firearms dealers are not permitted to sell firearms to anyone under the age of 18 in the State of Ohio, and the sale of handguns to anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited unless he or she is a law enforcement officer, active-duty service member, or the handgun is being used for lawful hunting, sporting, or educational purposes.

You may want to contact Joslyn Law Firm immediately if you face charges for firearms violations. We can tell you everything you need to know about complying with state law. Our Columbus firearms lawyers can also help you build a defense.

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Common Types of Ohio Weapons Charges

Even though Ohio law allows for gun ownership and open or concealed carry for many private citizens, both federal and state laws strictly regulate the possession and use of weapons. The law sets out many different criminal offenses that involve firearms and other types of weapons, and if law enforcement officers believe that you violated a weapons law, you might face one or more of the many possible charges in Ohio.

The following is an overview of possible charges people face throughout our state.

Improperly Handling Firearms in a Vehicle

This law prohibits people from discharging a firearm in any type of motor vehicle. It is also against the law to intentionally transport or carry a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle that allows anyone in the vehicle to access the weapon. To comply with the law, you must ensure the firearm is unloaded and in a closed case or a compartment that is not reachable from inside the vehicle.

  • Discharging a firearm in a vehicle is a fourth-degree felony.
  • Mishandling a firearm in a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a fifth or fourth-degree felony.
  • Improper transport of a firearm in a vehicle is a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

Depending on the charge, you could face fines from $150 to $5,000 and possibly 18 months in prison.

Carrying a Concealed Weapon

It is unlawful to knowingly carry a handgun or deadly weapon concealed on your person without a valid and current CCW license. Even if you do have a license, it is against the law to:

  • Fail to inform a law enforcement officer of your concealed weapon and permit
  • Fail to keep your hands away from the firearm and in plain sight during the encounter
  • Touch the firearm in any manner unless the officer instructs you to do so
  • Fail to comply with any lawful orders from the officer

Unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon can range from a minor misdemeanor to a fourth-degree felony, with possible penalties ranging from a fine of $150 to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Having Weapons While Under Disability

As mentioned above, “disability” under weapons laws does not refer to a medical disability. Instead, it refers to factors that restrict you from possessing weapons under state or federal law. Such disabilities under Ohio state law include:

  • Being under indictment or convicted for a felony offense, domestic violence, drug offenses, or certain violent misdemeanors
  • Fugitives from justice
  • Adjudication of mental defect or incompetence
  • Chronic alcoholism or drug dependence

Disabilities under federal law include the following:

  • Any criminal conviction that carries a sentence of more than one year of imprisonment (generally, felony offenses)
  • Fugitives from justice
  • Being subject to a protective order
  • Convictions of domestic violence (misdemeanors included)
  • Adjudication of mental defect or commitment to an institution
  • Addiction to or the unlawful use of controlled substances
  • Having a nonimmigrant visa or being unlawfully present in the United States
  • Previously renouncing your United States citizenship
  • Dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces

If you possess a firearm despite a state or federal disability, you can be charged with unlawful possession. This is a third-degree felony, which can mean up to 36 months in prison if convicted.

Possessing Criminal Tools

This offense involves possessing or having control of any device, substance, article, or instrument with the intention or purpose of using it to commit a criminal offense. This includes having any type of weapon with the intent of using it criminally. This offense can be a misdemeanor or a felony charge, depending on the type of criminal tools possessed and other circumstances, with possible penalties including up to 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine.

Using Weapons While Intoxicated

Ohio law prohibits people from carrying or using any type of firearm while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This law applies even if you have a license to carry your handgun, and can result in a first-degree misdemeanor charge. Penalties for a conviction may include a fine of $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail.

Possessing a Defaced Firearm

It is a criminal offense in Ohio to deface a firearm or possess a defaced firearm. This includes removing or altering identifying marks, such as the serial number, make, or model, from the weapon. A first offense is a first-degree misdemeanor, while subsequent offenses can result in fourth-degree felony charges.

Firearm Prohibitions on Watercraft and Waterways

Ohio watercraft and waterway laws prohibit people from transporting a loaded firearm on a watercraft when it is accessible to anyone on the vessel. It is also unlawful to knowingly discharge a firearm on a watercraft. The law does provide some specific exceptions and defenses to this offense, though these do not apply in most scenarios.

Improperly Discharging a Firearm

The law sets out specific situations in which it is strictly unlawful to discharge a firearm, including:

  • In or at an occupied habitation (temporary or permanent)
  • In or at a school safety zone
  • Within 1000 feet of school premises or any school building or at a school activity or function with the intention of causing harm, panic, fear, or evacuation

This is a second-degree felony, and a conviction might mean up to eight years in prison.

Illegal Conveyance of a Deadly Weapon into a Courthouse

Bringing a deadly weapon into a courthouse is a generally a fifth-degree felony offense with possible penalties including 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Having a CCW license does not permit a private citizen to carry a firearm into a courthouse.

Illegal Conveyance or Possession of Deadly Weapon in a School Safety Zone

Bringing a deadly weapon into a school safety zone or having something indistinguishable from a firearm is a generally a fifth-degree felony offense with possible penalties including 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Having a CCW license does not permit a private citizen to carry a firearm into a school safety zone.

Possession of a Firearm in a Beer/Liquor Premises

The law prohibits the possession of a firearm in any establishment with a liquor permit and where anyone is consuming alcoholic beverages. Having a CCW license does not permit a private citizen to carry a firearm into a beer or liquor premises. Generally, possession of a firearm in such an establishment is a fifth-degree felony, but concealed carry of a firearm in such an establishment can be a third-degree felony.

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Penalties of Firearm Convictions in Ohio

If you plead guilty or are convicted by a jury of a gun crime in Ohio, the penalties you face can vary widely depending on:

  • The type and severity of the charge filed
  • The type of weapon involved
  • Whether the gun charge accompanied other types of offenses
  • The location and circumstances of the offense
  • Whether you have prior criminal convictions
  • Whether you had a CCW handgun license

Any type of criminal conviction comes with penalties, and a sentence may include fines, probation, or time in jail or prison. Weapons and gun crimes can be charged in many ways, from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. The following are some possible fines and terms of imprisonment that may apply depending on your level of charges:

joslyn law fire Gun Crime Charges in ohio


Fourth-degree misdemeanor $250 30 days
Third-degree misdemeanor $500 60 days
Second-degree misdemeanor $750 90 days
First-degree misdemeanor $1,000 180 days
Fifth-degree felony $2,500 Six to 12 months
Fourth-degree felony $5,000 Six to 18 months
Third-degree felony $10,000 Nine to 36 months OR 12 to 60 months for higher-level offenses
Second-degree felony $15,000 Two to eight years
First-degree felony $20,000 Three to 11 years

Whether you are facing a fine or years in state prison, it is important to assert a strong defense. Even if the charge seems minor and the court-ordered penalties do not seem very serious, there are still additional collateral consequences that can result from any type of criminal conviction, including gun crimes.

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Defenses to Firearm Charges in Ohio

Every criminal case is different with unique circumstances. There is no one-size-fits-all defense strategy for criminal charges. Instead, our Columbus gun crimes lawyers take the time to evaluate the specific issues involved in your individual gun crime case. We scour the evidence in your case, investigate the allegations against you, and develop an aggressive and effective defense strategy to help you avoid unnecessary consequences.

The legal defenses available will vary from case to case. Part of our job is to identify any and all possible defense we can raise that can protect you from wrongful conviction or overly harsh penalties. The following are only some of the potential defenses that might be raised in gun crime cases.

Challenging Possession

The prosecution must prove all elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a criminal conviction. If they claim that you possessed a firearm, the prosecution must present sufficient evidence to prove that this specific weapon was in your possession.

“Possession” can be surprisingly complicated. You can be accused of possessing something unlawful when it was not actually found on your person. This is because prosecutors often allege constructive possession, which means the weapon was found somewhere you could access and control.

For example, if the weapon was found in a shared apartment or vehicle, the prosecutor may allege that the firearm was yours based on constructive possession. Our firearms attorneys can work to challenge this evidence and cast doubt on the allegation that the gun was in your possession. We can identify any weak areas in the prosecution’s claims to defend you.

Challenging the “Knowing” Element

Many gun crimes argue that a defendant “knowingly” possessed or used a weapon. If you did not know a firearm was present in the vicinity, you should not be convicted of a gun crime. A prosecutor cannot get into your head and prove your knowledge (or lack thereof) of the firearm, so this can be an important opportunity to defend against gun charges.

For example, if you borrowed a friend’s car and got pulled over, the police may arrest you if they find a prohibited firearm in the trunk or a loaded handgun under the seat. The prosecutor may allege that you put the weapon there, but since the vehicle was not yours, it can be difficult to prove your knowledge of the gun beyond a reasonable doubt. This is only one example of how we regularly challenge that a defendant knowingly committed a gun-related charge.


Ohio courts have said that an inoperable gun cannot be considered a deadly weapon. If you carry a concealed inoperable firearm without a license, it should not be considered a violation of the law (as long as you did not use the gun to hit or otherwise harm someone).

Showing that a gun was inoperable can often be a successful defense to wrongful charges. There are two major exceptions to this defense, however.

First, you can still violate Ohio law if you bring an inoperable gun in a school safety zone. In addition, if you can easily turn the inoperable gun into a functional weapon, it may still result in a criminal conviction. Depending on your case’s facts, our Ohio gun crime lawyers could work to gather evidence showing that your gun was not in working order.

Fourth Amendment Violations

Under the Fourth Amendment, law enforcement officers do not have the right to search a person, vehicle, or home whenever they want to do so. Instead, officers must obtain a search warrant or have a legal justification for a warrantless search. Unfortunately, many police officers overstep the bounds of the law and conduct a search without the necessary consent, warrant, or legal exception.

If your Constitutional rights were violated, an experienced criminal defense lawyer can move to suppress any evidence stemming from that violation. This means the prosecutor will not be able to use the evidence against you in your case. In a gun crime case, the gun itself is the major piece of evidence and, if it is suppressed, the gun-related charges will likely be dropped.

Fifth Amendment Violations

When you’re under arrest, law enforcement officers should read your Miranda rights before you are interrogated or questioned. Miranda rights include informing a suspect they have the right to remain silent and the right to call an attorney. Failure to do so is a violation of a person’s Fifth Amendment rights, and any information obtained after such a violation can be suppressed from a case.
Practically speaking, if police fail to give the proper Miranda warning and you admit to the unlawful possession or use of a weapon, a defense attorney from our team can move to have your admissions – and any other information you provided – suppressed from your case. Our lawyers know how to defend your Constitutional rights in a gun crime case.


If you are accused of unlawfully brandishing or discharging a weapon, you might be able to fight the charges completely if you were acting in self-defense. Self-defense is legal justification for certain acts of violence, including using a weapon.

However, not everyone can assert self-defense, as there are legal requirements for this defense to apply. First, you must have been in real fear of injury in order to justifiably use force in self-defense. Someone else must be the aggressor in the situation, or if you were the aggressor, you must have taken steps to retreat and stop the situation while the other person escalated the matter.

Self-defense claims can also get complicated when they involve a deadly weapon such as a firearm. This is because you only have the authority to use an amount of force that is proportional to the situation at hand. If someone else throws a punch, using a firearm is not in proportion, and you cannot justify your actions by claiming self-defense. If someone else caused you to fear serious bodily injury or deadly harm, you may succeed in justifying your use of a weapon through a self-defense claim. Proving self-defense under Ohio law (Ohio Rev. Code § 2901.05) can be challenging, however. Our attorneys can review your case to determine whether this might be a valid defense in your case.


You may face a weapons charge in connection with another criminal matter, like a robbery or an assault. In these cases, we can use many possible approaches to your defense, including mistaken identity. A victim may misidentify you as the offender when, in reality, you had nothing to do with the matter.

Our attorneys know that eyewitnesses can identify the wrong suspect all too easily. Often, law enforcement officers use overly suggestive methods that lead an eyewitness to identify a suspect when they are not truly certain. Police have even been known to alter photographs of suspects to make it more likely an eyewitness will identify them. It can be critical to have an attorney who knows how to review identification methods and prove that you were misidentified.

If you were wrongfully accused of a weapons crime, another way to cast doubt on your guilt is to present an alibi. If you can show you were somewhere else during the commission of the crime, there is no way you could be the offender. Presenting an alibi requires following certain procedures and giving supporting evidence, which a criminal defense lawyer from our firm can do.

For First Offenders

Aside from presenting legal defenses at trial, a defense lawyer can help in many other ways to reduce your penalties or have your charges dropped. If this is your first criminal charge, an attorney can work to limit the consequences you face and seek alternative sentencing.
Often, a prosecutor will be open to a favorable plea bargain for first offenders or may be more lenient if an attorney emphasizes your clean record. One option for many first offenders is a pretrial diversion program. These programs allow you to serve a term of probation with strict conditions set by the judge. If you successfully complete your program, you might qualify to have your charges dismissed and not have a conviction on your record.

Our lawyers also examine whether clients may qualify for pretrial diversion to help them avoid a conviction. These are only some ways that the right Ohio gun crime lawyer can defend against firearm charges. To discuss a possible defense strategy in your situation, you should contact our office right away for a consultation.

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Firearms- Related Crimes for Licenses Carriers

Even after you have lawfully purchased a firearm and obtained a concealed carry permit, your right to bear arms in public is not absolute. In Ohio, it is illegal to carry (open or concealed) a firearm at the following locations with exceptions for registered security personnel:

  • Educational Institutions: This generally includes schools, school zones, and on college campuses in Ohio. These prohibitions apply to public and private schools, areas where school-sponsored activities are ongoing, i.e., a student field day, and in school transportation vehicles. A private institution, based on the phraseology of the statute, may not override the law to permit the open or concealed carry of firearms on school grounds in Ohio.
  • Courthouses: This includes federal, state, or municipal courthouses or locations where legal proceedings are being held, i.e., at the local community center while the courthouse is being renovated.
  • Active Voting/Polling Places: You may not carry, open or otherwise, a firearm to vote or to a polling place while the polls are open. This includes in areas and in locations where early voting is occurring.
  • Airports: You may not carry a firearm into a “secured premises” of an airport, i.e., after the security check. However, you may carry a firearm in an unsecured area of an airport, i.e., baggage claim or ticketing. Legal carriers who, due to a misunderstanding, attempt to bring a firearm past security must be given the option of departing the airport with the weapon. You may not be arrested if, after you are warned, you immediately depart with your weapon and otherwise following the instructions of security personnel.
  • Bars and Related Establishments: If a bar or restaurant is licensed to serve alcohol in accordance with the Ohio Code, it is illegal to carry a firearm into the establishment. This often includes professional sporting events.
  • Private Property with Notice: It is a misdemeanor to carry (open or concealed) a firearm, including a handgun, into an establishment where conspicuous written notice is posted that firearms are not permitted. Further, you must abide by an oral request by the property owner and/or an authorized representative of the same to remove the firearm from the premises. Failure to depart and remove the firearm upon request is a Class A misdemeanor that can result in a jail sentence up to a year and a $4,000 fine. While you have greater rights to carry a firearm in a public building unless otherwise excepted, i.e., school or courthouse, the same is not true of a private establishment. Places of worship, hospitals, college sporting events, restaurants, amusement parks, prisons, and certain meeting places may prohibit or otherwise restrict firearms on the premises.

These are not the only restrictions applicable to gun owners in Ohio, and you likely want to seek immediate legal help from an Ohio firearms attorney if you’ve been charged with a state or federal firearms offense in Ohio. A single charge, even if dismissed, may affect your rights to purchase a firearm or otherwise qualified for a permit in the future.

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Gun Specifications in Ohio

“Gun specifications” refer to add-ons to a felony sentence based on certain circumstances involving firearms. A valid specification can result in mandatory years added to a prison sentence. The following are some common gun specifications in Ohio:

When you are facing felony charges for robbery, aggravated assault, or another serious offense, and the prosecutor alleges a specification, you need a defense lawyer who can fight both the underlying charge AND the gun specification. By challenging the specification, you can often reduce your prison sentence, even if you are convicted of the underlying offense.

Our Columbus attorneys can ensure you understand the next best steps in your defense and handle the entire process for you.

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Common Federal Gun Crimes

Gun and firearm offenses can also be prosecuted by the federal government, which means your case will be heard in federal criminal court instead of Ohio state court. Federal courts apply different laws and have different procedures than state courts, so if you are charged on the federal level, it is critical that you have the representation of an experienced federal criminal defense attorney. At the Joslyn Law Firm, we regularly defend clients in federal criminal court, so please contact us to learn how we can assist you as soon as possible.

In many cases, federal criminal cases begin with an investigation. Investigators on firearm cases may be from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), or other agencies. These agencies all have substantial budgets for criminal investigations, and agents are often able to gather a lot of evidence against you before they even submit the case to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution. If a federal law enforcement agent contacts you in connection with a firearm investigation, it is likely that YOU are one of the people under investigation.

Do not assume that you should address the matter and speak with agents on your own. Even if the agents promise you will not be charged if you answer questions, this is usually not true. It is always important to call a federal gun crime attorney right away to represent you in all communications with investigators. The following are some of the common federal gun charges that people might face in the United States.

Possession of a Firearm by a Prohibited Person

Convicted felons cannot possess a firearm. In addition, if you have specific disabilities under federal law, including:

  • Any criminal conviction that carries a sentence of more than one year of imprisonment (generally, felony offenses)
  • Fugitives from justice
  • Being subject to a protective order
  • Convictions of domestic violence (misdemeanors included)
  • Adjudication of mental defect or commitment to an institution
  • Addiction to or the unlawful use of controlled substances
  • Having a nonimmigrant visa or being unlawfully present in the United States
  • Previously renouncing your United States citizenship
  • Dishonorable discharge from the U.S. Armed Forces

In order for federal charges to apply, a prohibited person must possess or transport firearms across state lines. The possible penalty for a federal conviction of this offense is 10 years in federal prison. If someone has three or more previous violent felony convictions, they may face a mandatory minimum of 15 years. You may also face 10 years in prison if you knowingly give a firearm to a prohibited person.

Stolen Firearm, Ammunition, or Explosive

Federal law prohibits stealing firearms, ammunition, or explosives from a licensed firearms dealer, as well as receiving, storing, concealing, selling, or possessing known stolen firearms, ammunition, or explosives. The possible sentence for this offense is 10 years in prison.

Firearm in a School Zone

It is against federal law – as well as state law – for an unauthorized person to possess a firearm in a school zone. Penalties for a conviction may include up to five years in federal prison.

Knowingly Possess or Manufacture Certain Weapons

The federal authorities could charge you with this offense if they believe you knowingly manufactured or possessed any of the following prohibited weapons:

  • Fully automatic weapon or machine gun
  • Semi-automatic assault weapon manufactured later than October 1, 1993
  • A firearm silencer
  • A sawed-off rifle shorter than 26 inches or with a barrel shorter than 16 inches
  • A sawed-off shotgun shorter than 26 inches or with a barrel shorter than 18 inches
  • Destructive devices
  • Any firearm without a serial number or an altered serial number

The penalties for possessing prohibited weapons can range from five to ten years in federal prison, depending on the specific allegations.

Use, Carry or Possess a Firearm In Relation to or in Furtherance of a Drug Felony

18 U.S.C. §924(c) allows for additional mandatory minimum sentencing if someone used, carried, or possessed a firearm in the course of a federal drug felony, such as drug trafficking. The penalties will depend on the type of weapon in question, how the defendant used the weapon, and other factors. The following are possible minimum and maximum penalties for different offenses under this law:

  • Using, carrying, or possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime = Minimum of five years, maximum of life in prison
  • Brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime = Minimum of seven years, maximum of life in prison
  • Discharging a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime = Minimum of ten years, maximum of life in prison
  • Possessing a sawed-off or short-barreled rifle or shotgun, or a semi-automatic assault weapon in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime = Minimum of ten years, maximum of life in prison
  • Possessing a machine gun, firearm silencer, or destructive device in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime = Minimum of 30 years, maximum of life in prison
  • Second offense under this law = Minimum of 25 years, maximum of life in prison
  • Second offense involving a machine gun, firearm silencer, or destructive device = minimum of life in prison

If you are facing federal drug trafficking charges, there is a good chance the prosecutor will attempt to tack on weapons-related charges. As you can see, the additional penalties are extremely serious, so you need and aggressive defense attorney handling your case right away.

Charges Under the Armed Career Criminal Act (ACCA)

18 U.S.C. §924(e) enhances the mandatory penalties for defendants facing firearms charges and who have at least three previous violent or serious drug-related felony convictions. This law provides for a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison under these circumstances. Possessing a weapon during a drug offense can also result in a “gun bump” under the federal United States Sentencing Guidelines §2D1.1(b)(1). If there is not a specific conviction under 18 U.S.C. §924(c) as discussed above, prosecutors can use this gun bump to enhance the level of sentencing associated with a particular drug charge.

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Collateral Consequences of Weapons Charges in Ohio

Upon a conviction for a gun crime, the judge will impose a sentence that may involve fines, jail time, and more. Even after you complete that sentence, you might still continue to feel the effects of the conviction for years to come. This is because there are many collateral consequences that might stem from having a weapons conviction on your permanent criminal record, especially felony convictions.

Some common collateral consequences include the following, depending on the severity of the conviction:

  • Ban on future gun purchase, possession, carry, or ownership
  • Loss of voting rights while serving a felony sentence
  • Loss of a job
  • Difficulty finding future employment
  • Denial or revocation of a professional license
  • Ineligibility or expulsion from certain educational programs
  • Ineligibility to hold public office
  • Ineligibility for public benefits or financial aid
  • Difficulty renting a place to live
  • Immigration consequences for non-citizens, including deportation
  • Loss of child custody or visitation rights

The consequences you might experience will depend on the type of offense on your record and the circumstances of your life. However, many people experience a major impact from having a criminal record. The best way to avoid long-term consequences and preserve your professional and personal life is to have the right defense representation from the start of your case. There are many ways our skilled defense lawyers can fight against your charges and minimize – or eliminate completely – the consequences that you face.

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Commonly Asked Gun Crime Questions

What do you need to buy a firearm in Ohio? You do not need a permit to purchase and own a firearm in Ohio. Instead, you must simply prove your identity and that you are 18 years of age or 21 years of age to buy a handgun. You can purchase a gun from a private seller or a federally-licensed firearms dealer. If you are buying from a dealer with a federal license, you likely will need to pass a background check. There is no waiting period, and you can take your firearm home that day.

Do I have to register my firearms in Ohio? No. Ohio does not have a gun registry or require gun owners to register a new purchase. Ohio law actually prohibits local governments from implementing such a requirement.

Ohio allows people over the age of 21 to purchase a handgun and people over 18 to purchase other types of firearms. There is no requirement to register your firearm, and you do not need a license to openly carry your firearm, as long as you are not in a prohibited location.

What Limitations Exist on Open Carry in Ohio? Open carry typically includes carrying a handgun in a side holster over your clothing or jacket. Ohio citizens are permitted to transport unloaded handguns in motor vehicles without a concealed carry permit, provided it is stored separately from ammunition and in a container that cannot be reached without first exiting the vehicle, e.g., a trunk, flatbed, or roof rack. Ohio residents openly carrying weapons should do so cautiously and with discretion to avoid unlawful stoppages or assault, terrorism, and/or public disruption charges.

However, like in every state, Ohio places age restrictions on the use and purchase of both firearms and handguns. For instance, if you plan to carry a concealed weapon, you must have a valid permit. You could face charges if you violated these restrictions. Our Ohio gun crime lawyers can help you understand what to do next if you are accused of a firearms crime.

Who Can Get a Concealed Carry License? While you do need a license for concealed carry of a handgun, Ohio is a “shall certify” state, which means that you should receive a license as long as you are not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing a firearm. In some states, law enforcement officers have the discretion to deny concealed carry licenses.

However, in Ohio, your application should be approved within 45 days as long as you meet the following requirements:

  • You are at least 21 years of age.
  • You completed 8 hours of approved firearms safety training.
  • You have no domestic violence convictions.
  • You have no felony charges pending or convictions.
  • You have no pending charges or convictions for drug trafficking or violent misdemeanor offenses, such as assault.
  • You have not falsified a concealed carry license or had a license suspended in another state.
  • You have no convictions for resisting arrest or assaulting a peace officer.
  • You meet all requirements under federal law.
  • You are not subject to a civil protection order.
  • You are a lawful permanent resident or citizen of the United States.

How Can I Apply for a Concealed Carry License? To obtain a concealed carry permit in Ohio, the following is required in addition to the purchase, disability, and residency regulations specified herein:

  • Complete mandatory firearms safety training with a certified instructor to include at least 8 hours of training with 2 hours of in-person, range-time training, a written test, and competency training
  • Not have had a permit denied in another state
  • Not be addicted to a controlled or illegal substance or alcohol
  • Not have been dishonorably discharged from the armed services
  • Be a lawful permanent resident or citizen of the United States
  • Not be subject to a civil protection order

Why Is Concealed Carry Mores Restricted than Open Carry? Concealed carry regulations are traditionally more restrictive than open carry for a number of reasons, including the propensity for “surprise” attacks and the historical precedence that firearms bourn in defense against an attack would be openly carried. However, responsible concealed carry is often preferred in public so as to avoid public confusion and fear over the presence of a firearm.

What Other Restrictions Does Ohio Place on Firearms Use and Ownership? Ohio prohibits certain uses of a gun, with limited exceptions for security, law enforcement, and military personnel:

  • Carrying a concealed firearm and/or handgun without a permit
  • Failing to inform law enforcement officials during a stop that you are carrying a concealed weapon and/or failing to follow law enforcement instructions and keep hands in plain sight
  • Possessing a firearm in a room where alcohol is being consumed, and a license or permit was needed to serve the alcohol
  • Carrying or using a firearm while intoxicated
  • Possessing or conveying a firearm in a school zone, including on college campuses
  • Possessing or conveying a firearm in a courthouse
  • Discharging a firearm in a motor vehicle, into a school zone, or into a habitation (home, hotel room, apartment)
  • Discharging a firearm on prohibited premises, i.e., a church, orchard, or park
  • Possessing and/or falsifying a concealed carry permit
  • Altering or destroying serial numbers or identifying information on a firearm

Lastly, Ohio prohibits any individual under a legal “disability” from possessing, acquiring, carrying, or using a firearm. This terminology is used to describe certain legal disqualifications from carrying a firearm in Ohio and not a physical disability as the language suggests. These disqualifying “disabilities” could apply to:

  • Violent felons
  • Fugitives
  • Felony drug offenders
  • Chronic alcoholics
  • Addicts, including those deemed in danger of developing drug dependence
  • Those adjudicated mentally ill or incompetent

This means that even if you already have a concealed carry permit or firearm, it would be nullified upon your conviction of a qualifying offense or relevant legal adjudication. You could even face firearms restrictions if you are indicted for a crime and awaiting further action in your case.

How Can I Avoid Issues With Law Enforcement if I Carry a Gun? To avoid problems with law enforcement, you should always ensure that you transport weapons appropriately and have the necessary license before you engage in concealed carry. Avoid carrying a weapon into places with firearm restrictions, and never discharge a weapon in a motor vehicle.

Again, even if you carry your weapon in accordance with the law, it is common for arrests to occur and charges to be filed. Anyone who is accused of violating firearm laws in Ohio should seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Because gun laws can be complicated and vary so much from state to state, it can be critical to seek representation from a criminal defense lawyer who is highly familiar with your rights and restrictions under Ohio state law.

Can I buy a firearm from a friend? You can purchase a firearm directly from another individual as long as that individual lawfully possesses the gun. These types of private transactions are perfectly legal in the State of Ohio, and you do not need a background check. This is even true for Dangerous Ordnances, though the process gets a little more complicated. You should always ensure that you are not prohibited from possessing a gun for any reason.

How does open carry work in Ohio? Open carry is legal in Ohio and, in fact, it is a right that is constitutionally protected. You do not need any type of permit or license for open carry, though you must ensure you are not carrying a weapon in a place where it is prohibited. You are permitted to transport unloaded handguns in motor vehicles without a permit as long as it is stored separately from ammunition and in a container that cannot be reached without first exiting the vehicle, such as a trunk, flatbed, or roof rack.

Does the Second Amendment offer legal protections for Ohio residents? Ohio is considered to be a pro-gun state, and the law upholds your rights under the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution. This is reflected by the Ohio Constitution, which provides, “The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.

Why might my gun rights be suspended in Ohio? Ohio law does have some restrictions for gun ownership and possession, and any of the following may cause you to forfeit your right to own a firearm:

  • Conviction of a violent felony or felony drug crime
  • Being dependent on drugs or alcohol
  • Being deemed mentally incompetent by a court or involuntarily committed
  • Being a fugitive of justice
  • Having certain restraining orders against you
  • Additional federal restrictions, including dishonorable discharge, unlawful presence in the U.S., domestic violence convictions, and more

What does law enforcement count as a deadly weapon? Ohio law defines a deadly weapon as “any instrument, device, or thing capable of inflicting death, and designed or specially adapted for use as a weapon, or possessed, carried, or used as a weapon.” This covers a wide range of items, including firearms (handguns, shotguns, or rifles), explosives, knives, straight razors, or even objects such as bats or hammers if they are used in a certain manner.

Does the federal government have a different definition of a deadly weapon? No. The federal and Ohio definitions are the same, but federal law specifies and regulates additional types of destructive devices, including mines, rockets, and bombs.

When can I lawfully carry a weapon under Ohio law? As long as you are not banned from possessing a weapon, you can openly carry it in permitted places. You can concealed carry a weapon with the proper license in Ohio.

Can I own a firearm with a drug conviction on my record? No, as Ohio law has prohibited people with felony drug convictions from possessing firearms since 2011.

If I am banned from possessing a firearm due to my criminal record, is there a way to have these rights restored? In some situations, people with certain convictions can obtain the right to own a firearm. However, this is a complex question, and the answer will depend on the specific circumstances of your situation. Speak with a gun crime lawyer to learn whether you are eligible for the restoration of your gun rights.

Does the sheriff have discretion when issuing a concealed carry permit to me? No. Under the law, Ohio is a “shall issue” state, which means that if someone meets all the qualifications for a concealed carry permit, the sheriff cannot decide to deny the permit for another reason. As long as you qualify, you should receive the permit after properly applying.

Does Ohio have reciprocity with other states for concealed carry? Yes, but not with all states. Ohio gives full reciprocity for permit holders in other states as long as the state has a substantially similar licensing statute. This generally means you were required to take a safety course and pass a criminal background check. Such reciprocity is helpful for tourists and cross-country travelers seeking to avoid unintentionally infringing upon state and federal firearms laws.

If I want to concealed carry in a state with reciprocity with Ohio, do I comply with Ohio laws? No, you will need to comply with the specific laws of the state in which you are carrying. Always be aware that different states have different laws, so you should familiarize yourself with that state’s regulations or discuss the matter with an attorney before you transport a gun into another state.

Where is it prohibited to carry a firearm in Ohio? There are places where you cannot carry a firearm in Ohio, either openly or with a concealed carry permit. Such weapons-free zones include (with some exceptions):

  • School safety zones
  • Airport terminals or aircraft
  • Law enforcement offices
  • Correctional facilities
  • Department of Mental Health facilities
  • Places serving alcohol with a liquor license (unless the concealed carrier is not consuming or under the influence of alcohol)
  • Courthouses or courtrooms
  • Places of worship unless explicitly allowed by the organization
  • Childcare facilities
  • Government facilities
  • Private property that has a sign prohibiting firearms
  • Places prohibited under federal law

When is the possession of a firearm unlawful under Ohio law? There are different circumstances that may lead to unlawful firearm possession charges, including:

  • Possessing a firearm while on parole
  • Transporting a gun in your vehicle when it is not properly stowed
  • Carrying a concealed firearm without the necessary permit
  • Possessing a firearm while intoxicated
  • Carrying a weapon into a prohibited place
  • Discharging a firearm from your car
  • Possessing certain weapons – such as an automatic machine gun or explosives – without a federal permit
  • Possessing a gun during the commission of certain crimes

Can I Carry a Firearm in My Car? Ohio law permits you to transport your firearm in a motor vehicle without a concealed carry permit provided:

  • You are lawfully permitted to own the firearm,
  • The firearm is unloaded, and
  • The firearm is being transported: (1) in a closed package, box or case; (2) in a place that can only be reached by exiting the vehicle like a closed trunk, or (3) secured in a gun rack or holder designed for that purpose.

Employers may not prevent employees from keeping firearms secured in their vehicles in an employer-owned parking lot, but any business may legally prevent you from carrying a firearm on its premises if a sign is clearly posted to that effect.

What is firearms trafficking? Many different acts can result in firearms trafficking charges, including transferring or intending to transfer firearms to anyone who is prohibited from purchasing firearms by law. Trafficking charges may also apply to altering or removing a serial number or identifying marks of the firearm. 

Are there prohibited weapons under Ohio law? While you can purchase or own handguns, shotguns, and rifles, it is unlawful to own or manufacture any of the following without specific federal authority:

  • Fully automatic weapon or machine gun
  • Semi-automatic assault weapon manufactured later than October 1, 1993
  • A firearm silencer
  • A sawed-off rifle shorter than 26 inches or with a barrel shorter than 16 inches
  • A sawed-off shotgun shorter than 26 inches or with a barrel shorter than 18 inches
  • Destructive devices
  • Any firearm without a serial number or an altered serial number.

Can I purchase a machine gun or other Title II firearms? You can purchase and possess these weapons, though Ohio law requires you to register any “Dangerous Ordnances” with the federal government.

How Can I Renew My CCW License in Ohio? A CCW license lasts for five years in Ohio and, after that time, you will need to apply for a renewal. You can submit your renewal application within 90 days of the expiration date of your current permit or anytime after the expiration. You will need to use the same application, but check the “renewal” box to indicate this is a renewal application. The requirements for a CCW handgun license renewal in Ohio are similar to the requirements for your initial approval.
You must:

  • Submit the completed application to your sheriff’s office
  • Present your original valid CCW license
  • Submit your fingerprints for a background check
  • Show a certificate of remission if you had been involuntarily institutionalized or hospitalized or deemed mentally incompetent at any time
  • Show a valid form of photo identification

It is important to remember that if your license expired before you receive the approval of your renewal, you do not have the authority to carry a concealed handgun in the meantime. If you have an expired license and are waiting for your renewal, you can be arrested for not being able to show a current, valid CCW handgun license.

Can my gun rights be suspended in Ohio? Yes, you can have your right to possess firearms suspended for several reasons. The same disabilities that will prohibit someone from purchasing or owning a gun in the first place can affect your existing gun rights. These include certain felony convictions, domestic violence convictions or restraining orders, mental incompetency, drug addiction, and more.

What types of firearms are commonly involved in criminal offenses? People have used all types of firearms to commit crimes, including handguns, shotguns, explosives, semi-automatic weapons, and more.

What happens if I’m accused of using a weapon during a crime? Even if you own a firearm lawfully, you can still be charged if you possess or use the weapon during criminal activity. You can face firearm charges even if you did not discharge or even display the weapon. This is a felony charge that carries a minimum sentence of three years in prison. Possessing a firearm can also escalate charges for the underlying crime, as the prosecutor might issue aggravated charges to seek a harsher sentence.

Can a prosecutor file multiple weapons charges from the same incident? Yes. For example, if law enforcement officers discover multiple weapons in your home and you are prohibited from possessing firearms, you can face a different charge – or “count” for each weapon found. You can also face firearm charges simultaneously with other criminal charges, such as robbery or assault.

What if I used my firearm in self-defense? You have the right to defend yourself from harm under Ohio law, though this right does have restrictions. For example, you can only use deadly force – such as using a gun – in limited situations. These include when you have a reasonable fear of serious bodily injury or death, or someone unlawfully enters your vehicle or home. If you use a firearm in other circumstances, you could still face criminal charges.

What are the penalties for a firearm conviction? The possible penalties you face will depend on the nature of your charges, including the type of weapon, whether anyone was injured, whether other crimes are involved, and more. Potential consequences include time in jail and hefty fines, as well as the loss of your gun privileges in some cases. Consult with a gun crime attorney in Ohio regarding the circumstances of your case.

Can I get a weapon back after it is seized by law enforcement? In many cases, you will never get your weapon back, especially if it is used as evidence in a criminal case and/or if you are convicted of a gun crime. If you were acting in self-defense or are not charged with a crime, it can still be a challenge to obtain your weapon, and you should speak with a criminal defense lawyer.

How can less-experienced firearm owners protect themselves? If you are not well-trained in using firearms, carrying one can be more dangerous than good. Ohio requires a safety course for a concealed carry permit, but no course is required for gun purchases or open carry. It is always wise for any gun owner to take a safety course before carrying or using a weapon.

Where can I learn more about my Ohio gun rights? There are many informational sites online regarding firearm rights in Ohio, including forums where you can ask questions. You can also always contact a gun crime lawyer to discuss your rights and possible violations or criminal charges.

How can an Ohio gun crime defense lawyer help me? Criminal defense lawyers work to protect your rights under the law. If you are accused of a gun crime, we will evaluate the circumstances of your gun possession and arrest, and determine the best possible defense strategy in your case. At the Joslyn Law Firm, we work with clients facing all types of weapons charges, and we present available defenses to get charges dropped or reduced whenever possible. Contact the office directly to discuss your specific case.

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Firearm and Weapon Resources in Ohio

There are many organizations and government entities that provide information and resources about firearms and weapons in Ohio. The following are some examples and, for specific questions, do not hesitate to consult with the Joslyn Law Firm.

  • The National Rifle Association (NRA) is the oldest gun rights organization in the United States. The NRA is dedicated to defending the Second Amendment and protecting the rights of citizens to purchase and possess firearms.
  • The National Association for Gun Rights is another organization that uses millions of grassroots activists to fight the anti-gun agenda in the United States.
  • USA Carry is a resource that provides many different articles relating to concealed carry and other weapons-related topics.
  • This website focuses on your rights under the United States Constitution – including the right to bear arms – and clearly explains your rights under the Bill of Rights.
  • The Columbus Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) is the branch of the federal agency that is responsible for investigations and enforcement of federal gun laws throughout the State of Ohio. The Columbus Division is located at 230 West Street, Suite 400, Columbus, Ohio 43215, and you can reach them by calling (614) 827-8400.
  • The Buckeye Firearms Association is a comprehensive resource online for gun owners and potential owners. It provides information on gun education, legislation in Ohio, gun-related events, and much more.
  • Ohioans for Concealed Carry is a membership organization that provides articles and information related to CCW laws and possible policy changes in Ohio. There are also online forums discussing various concealed carry issues.
  • Students for Concealed Carry is a national organization that started after the Virginia Tech shootings, and members fight for the right to carry a concealed weapon on college campuses.
  • Black Wing Shooting Center is a shooting range in Delaware, Ohio, that provides many different training courses and packages, including for brand new shooters and for concealed carry permits.
  • Vance Outdoors is a shooting range and retail establishment in Columbus. Vance sells a wide range of firearms and weapons, as well as offering training for gun owners.
  • The Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides an online copy of the Official Concealed Carry Laws and License Application Manual for the State of Ohio. The office also provides detailed information about concealed carry reciprocity agreements between Ohio and other states.

Each county has a branch of the Ohio Sheriff’s Office that reviews and approves/denies concealed carry licenses. The following are some links to CCW information provided by county sheriff’s offices:

The following are statutes from the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) relevant to gun and weapons possession:

As always, the gun crime attorneys at the Joslyn Law Firm are an important resource for information regarding gun laws and offenses in Ohio. Contact the office today for a consultation about any charges you might be facing.

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Ohio Gun News and Articles

Ohio Gun Deaths: 2019

Governor Kasich created a gun policy group that gathered information about gun violence in Ohio. Based on this information, the group made several policy recommendations to legislators, and this article provides graphs regarding the findings of the group.

Columbus Homicides Hit Record High in 2017

Columbus hit an all-time high for homicides in 2017, with 143 homicide victims. This article gives information regarding some of the homicides and discusses possible changes moving forward to curb violence in the Columbus area.

Moms Affected by Gun Violence Say it’s Too Many as Columbus Counts its 100th Homicide

As the homicide rate climbed in Columbus in 2017, a group of mothers affected by gun violence reached out to families of homicide victims, as well as spoke out for the need for gun law changes in Ohio to prevent future violence.
After the record number of homicides, the City of Columbus passed some new gun regulations, including bans on bump stocks, selling commercial weapons in residential neighborhoods, and stricter laws and protections regarding domestic violence situations, according to ABC News.

Columbus City Council Approves Gun Control Measures

This is another report regarding the stricter gun regulations passed by the Columbus City Council, and responses to the new regulations from officials and citizens. The record numbers were not just experienced in Columbus, as reports that the State of Ohio experienced record gun-death rates in 2017. A total of 1,589 people died due to guns that year, including both homicides and suicides. (The Columbus Dispatch)

Columbus Man Fears Hate Crime After Being Shot in Head With BB

In June 2019, a man was shot in the head with a BB gun outside of Columbus gay bar. The man suspected this was a hate crime, and it was under investigation by Columbus police.

Police Identify Man Killed in East Columbus Shooting

In May 2019, police officers found a 23-year-old man dead from gunshot wounds in his vehicle at about 2:30 in the morning in east Columbus. At the time of this report, officers were seeking any information about the homicide.

Bill Allowing Concealed-Carry Without a Permit Advances in Ohio House

In 2019, Ohio legislators were considering House Bill 178, which would allow people in Ohio to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

Lawmakers Ax One-Page Pamphlet on Gun Laws that Delayed Permitless Concealed Carry

Another article details the debate over whether there would be a pamphlet requirement for gun retailers. The requirement for the one-page pamphlet was removed from the Bill.

HB 228: What the New Ohio Gun Laws Mean to You

This is an overview of the changes to Ohio gun laws that went into effect in early 2019. The changes included a burden shift in self-defense cases, strengthened preemption of local gun regulations, definitions of sawed-off shotguns, increased penalties for straw purchases, and changes to signage requirements for companies that allow concealed carry on their premises.

Ohio changed its gun laws to prohibit employers from banning guns on company property, specifically parking lots. (Dayton Daily News) Under the new regulations, employees with permits can bring guns to work as long as they are locked in their vehicles.

As Congress faces increasing pressure to further restrict firearms rights, understanding you’re your constitutional “right to bear arms” does and does not protect is essential to responsible gun ownership. The right to “own” a firearm in Ohio does not necessarily mean you have the equal right to purchase, carry, use, or transport that firearm throughout the state. While Ohio is one of the least restrictive open-carry states in the nation, both Ohio and federal statutes restrict the right of certain persons to bear arms and provide the framework for legal, responsible gun ownership in Ohio.


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Ohio Gun Crimes Cases

State ex rel. Suwalski v. Peeler

After a conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence charges against victim Jamie Suwalski, Roy Ewing lost his firearm possession privileges under federal law. However, soon after the ruling, Ewing appealed to seek a removal of this firearms disability, and his appeal was affirmed.

Subsequently, Suwalski challenged the restoration of Ewing’s firearms privileges. Suwalski cited Marsy’s Law in the Ohio Constitution, arguing that this violated her right to protection and safety as a victim. Suwalski further argued that the judge who restored Ewing’s firearms rights lacked proper jurisdiction to do so.

The Supreme Court agreed, stating that Suwalski had established the elements necessary for a writ of prohibition. While the Supreme Court noted that a federal law restricting firearms rights does not apply to all misdemeanor domestic violence convictions, but Ewing’s circumstances did not entitle him to any exceptions from this law.

State v. Philpotts

In a 2019 case in the Eighth District Court of Appeals, the Ohio courts considered a state law that prevents defendants under indictment from possessing firearms.

The defendant, Delvonte Philpotts, was indicted in 2017 for charges including rape, assault, and kidnapping, and these charges included one- and three-year firearm specifications. Several months after Philpotts was released on bond, however, he posted pictures of himself on social media carrying firearms.

Police searched his home under a warrant and discovered a functioning handgun with ammunition. He was then indicted for possessing a weapon while under a firearms disability per Ohio Revised Code § 2923.13(A). He claimed that this charge was unconstitutional, but the court did not agree, denied his motion, and upheld his conviction for possessing a weapon under a firearms disability.

Soon after the hearing regarding Philpotts’ appeal, he was again arrested for a gun-related crime. Officers found a fully loaded gun in his vehicle and was charged with improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, a violation of Ohio Revised Code § 2923.16.

Still, Philpotts went on to again appeal his conviction for possession of a firearm while under a disability, arguing that the law violates his Second Amendment rights. The Eighth District Court of Appeals said that the court was right to apply R.C. 2923.13(A) to Philpotts, and the law is constitutional.

However, Philpotts continued to appeal his original conviction for violating a firearms disability under indictment. The Ohio Supreme Court is now deciding the case. (ACLU Ohio)


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A Brief History of the Right to Bear Arms in the United States and Ohio

Our Bill of Rights, which includes your Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms,” was partially informed by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. Prior to adopting the English Bill of Rights, there were heightened religious tensions in England, with the King favoring a certain religious denomination and interfering with the other denomination’s ability to keep and bear arms in self-defense.

Following the Glorious Revolution of 1688, the new King and Queen signed the English Bill of Rights, which specifically included the rights of the people to keep and bear arms for self-defense within the confines of the law. It was a basic right, proponents argued, that people could bear arms to protect themselves and their families from an attack, especially an attack on one’s home or when unlawful violence was instigated against them.

Our Second Amendment rights were derived from this basic premise of self-defense. While the American Revolution succeeded in freeing the United States from “British rule,” the American legal system was still founded upon and informed by “British rules.” The United States adopted the British “common law” system, meaning the courts of the United States are tasked with interpreting the implications and enforceability of your firearms rights.

In a common law system, the decisions of certain courts, such as the Supreme Court of Ohio and the United States Supreme Court, actually become the law. For example, in the landmark Supreme Court case of D.C. v. Heller, 554 US 570 (2008), it was held that the severe restrictions D.C. placed on the rights of its residents to keep handguns in a home for self-defense violated the very purpose of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. This ruling, and not the D.C. legislation, therefore, is the operative law.

The Right to Bear Arms in Ohio

The Ohio Constitution mirrors the right to bear arms as reflected in both the English Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution. It states that “[t]he people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security,” and the laws of Ohio attempt to strike a balance between protecting residents’ rights to defend themselves through gun ownership and regulating the ownership and use of firearms when the defense and security is not central to possession.

The goal of Ohio gun legislation, therefore, is to decrease the likelihood that firearms will be used offensively while protecting the defensive gun rights inherent in our history.


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Contact Joslyn Law Firm for an Ohio Gun Crimes Lawyer Who’ll Fight for You

At Joslyn Law Firm, we understand your rights under state and federal law, and we know how to protect them. If you’re facing charges for a gun crime, we can explain your legal options during a case review. Should you choose to hire our Columbus, Ohio, gun crimes attorneys, we’ll start researching your case and building your defense immediately. We can help you negotiate your charges, take your case to trial, or limit the penalties of a conviction.
Don’t let uncertainty about your next steps keep you from taking action. Call (614) 444-1900 to get your consultation. The call comes with no obligation.


  • Brian Joslyn was named Best Lawyer in 2019 by Birdeye.
  • Columbus CEO magazine has yearly selections for the best attorneys in Columbus Ohio. Brian Joslyn has been identified as one of the most highly skilled attorneys across central Ohio.
  • Brian Joslyn has earned recognition for community leadership by Lawyer LegionLawyer Legion
  • Preeminent Attorney Award. Peer rated for highest level of professional exellence.
  • The Better Business Bureau (BBB), founded in 1912, is a private, nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to focus on advancing marketplace trust.

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