Ohio allows a person to carry a concealed handgun in public if the person has a license. A person who knowingly carries or conceals a handgun without a license is criminally liable for a misdemeanor.
Ohio is a “shall issue” state, meaning that local law enforcement must issue a license to carry a concealed handgun if an applicant meets certain qualifications. Ohio defines a handgun as “[a]ny firearm that has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.” Any combination of parts from which a handgun can be assembled is also considered a handgun.
A concealed handgun license applicant will not be granted a license unless he or she:
• Is legally living in the United States and has been an Ohio resident for at least 45 days and a resident of the county in which he or she is applying, or the adjacent county, for at least 30 days;
• Is at least 21 years of age;
• Is not a fugitive from justice;
• Is not under indictment for, and has not been charged with, convicted of or pled guilty to, a felony;
• Is not under indictment for, and has not been charged with, a misdemeanor offense of violence and, within the three years prior to the application, has not been convicted of, or pled guilty to, a misdemeanor offense of violence (with certain exceptions);
• Is not under indictment for, and has not been charged with: 1) negligent assault with a dangerous ordnance (which includes an automatic or sawed-off firearm, zip-gun, any firearm or ammunition designed for military purposes, firearm muffler or silencer, or any combination of parts intended for converting a firearm or other device into a dangerous ordnance) or deadly weapon; or 2) falsification or alteration of a license to carry a handgun;
• Is not under indictment for, and has not been charged with, convicted of or pled guilty to, a drug offense;
• Has not, within the five years prior to the application, been convicted of, pled guilty to, or been adjudicated a delinquent child for committing two or more acts of assault or negligent assault with a dangerous ordnance or deadly weapon;
• Has not, within the ten years prior to the application, been convicted of, pled guilty to, or been adjudicated a delinquent child for resisting arrest;
• Has not been adjudicated as a mental defective, committed to a mental institution, or found by a court to be mentally ill subject to hospitalization, and is not under adjudication of mental incompetence or an involuntary patient at any hospital for purposes of mental health treatment;
• Is not subject to a protection order of any state;
• Certifies that he or she desires to carry a handgun for defense of self or family while engaged in lawful activity;
• Submits a certificate of completion of a firearms safety training course;
• Certifies that he or she has read the firearms safety pamphlet prepared by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission (“Commission”); and
• Is not subject to suspension of a license to carry a concealed handgun for violating certain state concealed weapons laws.
Firearm Safety Training
To obtain a license, an applicant must complete a training course that demonstrates competency in firearm use and safety, and must provide evidence of completion of such training course with his or her application. The competency certification must have occurred within the three years immediately preceding the application.
Each acceptable course, class, or program must include at least 12 hours of training in the safe handling and use of a firearm, and include:
• At least 10 hours of training regarding:
o The ability to name, explain, and demonstrate the rules for safe handling of a handgun and proper storage practices for handguns and ammunition;
o The ability to demonstrate and explain how to handle ammunition in a safe manner;
o The ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to shoot a handgun in a safe manner; and
o Gun handling training; and
• At least two hours of training that consists of range time and live-fire training.
The applicant must also pass a competency examination that includes:
• A written section on the ability to name and explain the rules for the safe handling of a handgun and proper storage practices for handguns and ammunition; and
• A physical demonstration of competence in the use of a handgun and in the rules for safe handling and storage of a handgun and a physical demonstration of the attitude necessary to shoot a handgun in a safe manner.
Duration & Renewal
An Ohio license to carry a concealed handgun is valid for up to five years if issued on or after March 14, 2007. A license issued before that date is valid for up to four years.
An individual may also obtain a temporary emergency license to carry a concealed handgun. These licenses are valid for up to 90 days, may not be renewed, and may only be obtained once every four years.
Disclosure or Use of Information
Ohio does not allow the identity of concealed handgun applicants to be made public. Ohio law requires a sheriff to destroy all records created for a background check 20 days after conducting a check for a license application. Sheriffs may retain only the application itself.
Ohio law also provides that a sheriff’s records relative to the issuance, renewal, suspension or revocation of a license to carry a concealed handgun are confidential and not public records. In 2015, Ohio repealed a law that allowed journalists to view information about concealed carry licensees if the information would be in the public interest.
Ohio requires the Attorney General to enter into a reciprocity agreement with any state that recognizes a license to carry a concealed handgun issued in Ohio and has eligibility requirements for a concealed handgun license that are “substantially comparable” to those of Ohio.
See our Concealed Weapons Permitting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.