888-USA-RIGHTS

Improper Handling of a Firearm

The state of Ohio has implemented rules and regulations for firearm owners for the safety of the general public. These include how to handle a firearm in a motor vehicle, retail establishment or during a traffic stop. Concealed weapons permit holders must follow additional safety precautions if they’re stopped by law enforcement and are armed. 

Failure to follow Ohio’s firearm protocol will result in criminal charges. Law enforcement may arrest or charge you for improperly handling a firearm. If convicted, you could have a high-level misdemeanor or even a felony on your record. In addition, you could lose your concealed weapons permit and be required to forfeit your firearms as a result of the conviction. 

If you or someone you know has been charged with a firearm or weapons offense, it’s essential you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Columbus Lawyer for Improper Handling of a Firearm in OH

Have you been arrested for improperly handling your firearm? Are you unsure what to do next? If so, we recommend you contact an experienced defense attorney. An attorney can assess your charges, develop a defense plan and argue for your sake in court. If you’re in need of excellent legal representation, we recommend you contact Joslyn Law Firm.

The attorneys at Joslyn Law Firm have exceptional legal skills and knowledge from practicing in Ohio’s courts for years. We strive to provide representation that is aggressive in the courtroom and sympathetic to the client. With Joslyn Law Firm, you will never be left in the dark. Our attorneys work around the clock to answer your questions and concerns.

Call us now at (614) 444-1900 to set up a free consultation. Joslyn Law Firm represents people throughout the Columbus area and surrounding cities including Hilliard, Grove City, Gahanna and Worthington. 

Overview of Improper Handling of a Firearm in OH  


Regulations in Ohio for Handling Firearms in a Car

Ohio has certain laws and regulations for people who are transporting a firearm. These rules especially apply to commercial drivers or if you’re pulled over by law enforcement. Listed below are the rules and regulations for handling a firearm in an automobile.

Under Ohio law you are prohibited from:

  • Discharging a firearm inside or outside a motor vehicle;
  • Transporting a firearm unless it is carried in one of the following ways:
    • In a closed box, package or case;
    • In a compartment where it can be reached when leaving the car;
    • In plain sight and secured on a firearm rack or holder; or
    • The weapon is stripped and in plain sight

In addition, you cannot transport a firearm in a motor vehicle if:

  • You are under the influence of alcohol or drugs; or
  • You have a blood alcohol concentration level that is at or above the legal limit

People carrying a concealed weapon permit such as handguns must also follow certain rules when transporting a firearm. You are prohibited from doing any of the following as a concealed weapons carrier, licensed firearm holder or emergency license carrier:

  • Transport a loaded handgun without it secured in a holster, in plain sight or encased in a secure and locked glove compartment;
  • Grasping the handgun while operating the vehicle;
  • Not informing law enforcement that you’re a licensed handgun holder who is currently transporting a loaded handgun;
  • Not obeying with the officer’s directions given during a traffic stop;
  • Leaving the motor vehicle while stopped with law enforcement;
  • Not keeping your hands in plain sight during a traffic stop;
  • Removing or attempting to remove, hold, grasp, or touch a loaded handgun from its holster, case or glove compartment

Ohio has different regulations for long guns than handguns. A long gun must be stowed in plain sight with the action open or the long guns stripped. If the firearm is a type where the action cannot stay open, then it must inform the officer and keep it in plain sight.


Back to top

Rules for Concealed Handguns Licensees in Ohio

Concealed weapon licensees must follow certain protocol when they’ve been pulled over by law enforcement. This is for both the safety of the law enforcement officer and the permit holder themselves. If you’re caught violating any of these rules, then you could be charged with improper handling of a firearm.

When stopped by law enforcement, a concealed carry weapons permit holder must: 

  • Inform the officer that you are license to concealed carry and you have your weapon on you at that moment;
  • Keep your hands in plain sight throughout the stop;
  • Not reach for or attempt to remove the concealed handgun;
  • If requested to, hold it during the stop; and
  • Comply with any lawful orders given by law enforcement officers 

Back to top

Ohio Penalties for Improper Handling of a Firearm

The penalties for your case will depend on the circumstances of the crime. It could range from a high-ranking misdemeanor to severe felony charges. Knowingly discharging a firearm in or outside the motor vehicle is a fourth-degree felony, which is punishable by:

  • Up to 18 months in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $5,000 

Those who don’t secure their firearm in a closed package, box or compartment reachable outside the vehicle will face misdemeanor charges. Not securing your firearm appropriately is a fourth-degree misdemeanor, which can result in:

  • Up to 30 days in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $250

Choosing not to inform law enforcement that you’re carrying a firearm or doesn’t keep it in plain sight during a traffic stop will face a first-degree misdemeanor. The penalties for a first-degree misdemeanor include:

  • Up to 180 days in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $1,000 

Failing to comply with a lawful order or not keeping your hands in plain sight as a concealed weapons license holder during a traffic stop is a first-degree misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face: 

  • Up to 6 months in jail; and
  • A fine of up to $1,000 

If you’re a concealed weapon licensee and touch your firearm during a traffic stop, then you will face a fifth-degree felony. It is also a fifth-degree felony if you’re driving intoxicated while transporting a firearm. The consequences associated with a fifth-degree felony include:

  • Up to 12 months in prison; and
  • A fine of up to $2,500

Back to top

Additional Resources

Improper Handling Statute – Visit the official website for Ohio’s rules and regulations to learn more about the crime of improperly handling a firearm. Access the site to learn the penalties, exceptions under Ohio law and other relatable firearm offenses.

Gun Laws in Ohio – Visit the official website for the National Rifle Association (NRA), to learn more about gun laws in Ohio. Access the site to learn what you can purchase with or without a permit, if you’re required to register your firearm and more. 


Back to top

Defense Lawyer for Improper Handling of a Gun in Franklin County, OH

If you or someone you know has been charged with improper handling of a firearm, it’s time to act now. The penalties for an improper handling offense are serious and can result in a felony conviction. This means you could be required to pay expensive fines and even be incarcerated for a period of time.

Get ahead of your charges by contacting Joslyn Law Firm. Our defense attorneys understand what it takes to defend someone from a firearms charge. We will assemble all our resources to design an impenetrable defense for you. Contact us at (614) 444-1900 to schedule your free consultation. 

Joslyn Law Firm represents people throughout the Columbus area and nearby cities such as Hilliard, Groveport, Gahanna and Worthington.


This article was last updated on July 2, 2019.

Request Your Free Consultation

Free Consultation

All fields are required.

In The News

Check Out Our Latest Video

Fox 28, NBC 4, ABC 6, WBNS 10 - CBS, The Columbus Dispatch, the Plain Dealer

Client Satisfaction Is Our Priority

Hear It From Former Clients