Gun Dealers in Ohio

See our Gun Dealers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.

Ohio has no law requiring firearms dealers to obtain a state license or permit.

The Ohio Department of Public Safety is required to prepare a poster and a brochure that describe safe firearms practices, and must furnish copies of the poster and brochure free of charge to each federally licensed firearms dealer.1

For information about the Ohio law requiring a locking device to accompany the sale of a firearm, see Locking Devices in Ohio.

Ohio has no law requiring dealers to conduct a background check on prospective firearm purchasers, although the federal background check requirement applies.

See also Private Sales in Ohio for Ohio laws that apply to gun sales generally.

Notes
  1. Ohio Rev. Code § 5502.63. ⤴︎

Gun Industry Immunity in Ohio

Ohio law prevents any member of the firearms industry from being held liable for damages or from being subject to an injunction as a result of the operation or discharge of a firearm. This rule does not apply, however, if the industry member operated or discharged the firearm that resulted in the harm in a tortious manner, or if the industry member sold, lent, gave, or furnished the firearm illegally. This rule also does not apply to a product liability action, or an action for breach of contract or breach of an express warranty.1

Ohio provides limited immunity for owners, operators or users of a shooting range.2

See our Gun Industry Immunity policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. Ohio Rev. Code § 2305.401(B). “Member of the firearms industry” means any manufacturer, dealer, or importer of firearms, firearms components, or firearms ammunition or any trade association the members of which, in whole or in part, are manufacturers, dealers, or importers of firearms, firearms components, or firearms ammunition. Ohio Rev. Code § 2305.401(A)(4), (C)(2), (3). This statute also applies to tort or other civil actions commenced on or after the effective date of this section, or commenced prior to and pending on the effective date of this section, for damages or injunctive relief based upon harm allegedly sustained by any person as a result of the operation or discharge of a firearm. Ohio Rev. Code § 2305.401(D). ⤴︎
  2. Owners, operators, or users of a shooting range are not liable in damages to any person for harm allegedly caused by noise at a range or the failure to limit or suppress noise at a range if the owner, operator, or user substantially complies with noise rules prescribed by the Chief of the Division of Wildlife (“Chief”). Ohio Rev. Code § 1533.85(A)(1), (2). These provisions do not confer immunity from civil liability in relation to an owner’s, operator’s, or user’s actions or omissions that constitute negligence, willful or wanton misconduct, or intentionally tortious conduct if those actions or omissions are not the subject of the Chief’s noise rules or are not in substantial compliance with the Chief’s rules. Ohio Rev. Code § 1533.85(A)(2)(d). State and municipal courts are not permitted to grant injunctive relief against the owner or operator of a shooting range in a nuisance action if the court determines that the owner’s or operator’s actions or omissions that are the subject of a complaint substantially complied with the Chief’s noise or public safety rules, whichever apply to the nuisance action. Ohio Rev. Code § 1533.85(C). ⤴︎

Guns in Schools in Ohio

Ohio prohibits any person from knowingly possessing a firearm in a “school safety zone.”1 Ohio also prohibits the knowing possession in a school safety zone of any object indistinguishable from a firearm, whether or not it is capable of being fired, if the possessor indicates that he or she possesses the object and that it is a firearm, or the person knowingly displays or brandishes the object and indicates that it is a firearm.2 A “school safety zone” consists of any school, school building, school premises, school activity or school bus.3

This prohibition does not apply to a concealed handgun license holder who possesses a handgun in a school safety zone if the person does not enter into a school building or onto school premises and is not at a school activity and is in compliance with federal law.4 This prohibition also does not apply to concealed handgun license holder who possesses a handgun in a school safety zone as the driver or passenger in a motor vehicle while immediately in the process of picking up or dropping off a child.5

A concealed handgun license does not authorize a person to carry a concealed handgun on premises owned or leased by a college, university or other institution of higher education, unless the handgun is in a locked motor vehicle.6

The superintendent of schools of a city, exempted village, or local school district must expel a pupil from school for a period of one year if the pupil brings a firearm to a school operated by the board of education of the district or onto any other property owned or controlled by the board.7 The superintendent may expel a pupil from school for a period of one year for bringing a firearm to an interscholastic competition, an extracurricular event, or any other school program or activity that is not located in a school or on property that is owned or controlled by the district.8 The superintendent may reduce these disciplinary actions on case-by-case bases in accordance with board policy.9

See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.122(B). ⤴︎
  2. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.122(C). ⤴︎
  3. Ohio Rev. Code § 2901.01(C)(1). ⤴︎
  4. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.122(D)(3). ⤴︎
  5. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.122(D)(4). ⤴︎
  6. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.126(B)(5). ⤴︎
  7. Ohio Rev. Code § 3313.66(B)(2)(a). ⤴︎
  8. Ohio Rev. Code § 3313.66(B)(2)(b). ⤴︎
  9. Ohio Rev. Code § 3313.66(B)(2)(a), (b). ⤴︎

Guns in Vehicles in Ohio

Ohio prohibits any person from knowingly transporting or having in a motor vehicle a loaded firearm that is accessible to the operator or any passenger who has not left the vehicle.1 In addition, no person shall knowingly transport or have a firearm in a motor vehicle, unless the gun is unloaded and the firearm is carried:

• In a closed package, box, or case;

• In a compartment that can be reached only by leaving the vehicle;

• In plain sight and secured in a rack or holder made for the purpose; or

• If the firearm is at least 24 inches in overall length and the barrel is at least 18 inches in length, either in plain sight with the action open or the weapon stripped or, if the firearm is of a type on which the action will not stay open or which cannot easily be stripped, in plain sight.2

The state prohibits the knowing transportation of a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle if the possessor is under the influence of any alcohol or drug, or the person’s blood, breath, or urine contains a concentration of alcohol, a listed controlled substance, or a listed metabolite of a controlled substance prohibited for persons operating a vehicle.3

In 2011, Ohio repealed a provision prohibiting a concealed handgun licensee from knowingly transporting or having a loaded handgun while in a motor vehicle unless it was in a holster or properly stored.4

Ohio law prohibits the operation of a snowmobile, off-highway motorcycle, or all-purpose vehicle while the operator is transporting any firearm unless the firearm is unloaded and securely encased.5

Finally, Ohio prohibits any person from knowingly transporting or having a loaded firearm in a watercraft vessel if the firearm is accessible to the operator or any passenger.6 Persons are also prohibited from knowingly transporting or having a firearm in a vessel unless it is unloaded and carried: a) in a closed package, box, or case; or b) in plain sight with the action opened or the weapon stripped or, if the firearm is of a type on which the action will not stay open or that cannot easily be stripped, in plain sight.7

Notes
  1. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.16(B). ⤴︎
  2. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.16(C). ⤴︎
  3. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.16(D). ⤴︎
  4. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.16(E). Certain rules apply to a licensee who is carrying a loaded handgun and is stopped as a result of a traffic stop or for another law enforcement purpose. See Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.16(E)(3)-(6). ⤴︎
  5. Ohio Rev. Code § 4519.40(A)(5). ⤴︎
  6. Ohio Rev. Code § 1547.69(C). ⤴︎
  7. Ohio Rev. Code § 1547.69(D). ⤴︎

Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in Ohio

Ohio law defines the term “[d]angerous ordnance” to include any “automatic firearm.”1 “Automatic firearm” means any firearm designed or specially adapted to fire a succession of cartridges with a single function of the trigger.2

It is generally unlawful to knowingly acquire, have, carry, or use any dangerous ordnance without a license or permit.3 Ohio law allows the sheriff of a county or safety director or police chief of a municipality to, in his or her discretion, issue a license or temporary permit to acquire, possess, carry, or use dangerous ordnance to any responsible person, so long as the dangerous ordnance was lawfully acquired, possessed, and carried, and is used for a legitimate research, scientific, educational, industrial, or other proper purpose.4 The applicant must reside or have his or her principal place of business in the county or municipality, must be age 21 or over, and it must appear that the applicant has “sufficient competence to safely acquire, possess, carry, or use the dangerous ordnance, and that proper precautions will be taken to protect the security of the dangerous ordnance and ensure the safety of persons and property.”5 The issuing authority may list any “restrictions on the acquisition, possession, carriage, or use of the dangerous ordnance as the issuing authority considers advisable to protect the security of the dangerous ordnance and ensure the safety of persons and property.”6 The issuing authority must forward a copy of all such licenses and permits to the state fire marshal.7

Anyone who is transferring any dangerous ordnance to another must require the transferee to exhibit the license of permit, and must take a complete record of the transaction and forward a copy of that record to the sheriff of the county or safety director or police chief of the municipality where the transaction takes place.8

Ohio law also penalizes any person who, in acquiring, possessing, carrying, or using any dangerous ordnance, negligently fails to take proper precautions to secure the dangerous ordnance against theft, or against its acquisition or use by any unauthorized or incompetent person, or to insure the safety of persons and property.9

Federal law requires machine guns to be registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), and generally prohibits the transfer or possession of machine guns manufactured after May 19, 1986.10 In December 2018, ATF finalized a rule to include bump stocks within the definition of a machine gun subject to this federal law, meaning that bump stocks will be generally banned as of March 26, 2019.11

See our Machine Guns policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.11(K). ⤴︎
  2. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.11(E). ⤴︎
  3. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.17. ⤴︎
  4. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.18(A). ⤴︎
  5. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.18(C). ⤴︎
  6. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.18(D). ⤴︎
  7. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.18(G). For further information about these permits and licenses, see Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.18. ⤴︎
  8. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.20(A)(4). ⤴︎
  9. Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.19(A). ⤴︎
  10. 18 U.S.C. § 922(o); 26 U.S.C. § 5861(d). ⤴︎
  11. Bump-Stock-Type Devices, 83 Fed. Reg. 66,514 (Dec. 26, 2018) (to be codified at 27 C.F.R. pts. 447, 478, 479). ⤴︎