Allowed to own a firearm

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Are you allowed to own a firearm?

Everyone Starts with the Right to Own a Firearm

It is easiest to start from the normal case: everyone starts off with being allowed to own a firearm. There is no special "licensing" or "registration" required in Ohio for most people.


However, some people lose that right if certain things in their background disqualifies them from possessing firearms. We call these items "disqualifiers". Review the disqualifers below, and if one of them matches your circumstance, that means it is illegal for you to possess firearms or ammunition.

The most common disqualifiers are:

Ohio Disqualifers

  1. Age under 18 - long guns. People under age 18 in Ohio are only allowed to possess "long guns" (rifles and shotguns) under the supervision or control of a responsible adult for lawful hunting, sporting, or educational purposes. The actual crime would be committed by the adult who provided the long gun to the minor. (R.C. 2923.21)
  2. Age under 21 - handguns. People under 21 are similarly restricted (adult supervision/valid purpose) regarding handguns. There are exceptions to this rule for law enforcement officers. (R.C. 2923.21)

Federal Disqualifiers

The following disqualifers are federal, not state, from 18 U.S.C. 922(g) and (n), and 27 CFR 478.32 (note, add links)

  1. Convicted felon: Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year? Note that "punishable" means the maximum allowable sentence. If someone could have been punished with three years but was only sentenced to six months, they are still disqualified.
  2. Arrest Warrants: Is a fugitive from justice?
  3. Addict/User: Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance?
  4. Mental: Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution? Note that the terms "adjudicated" and "committed" have specific legal usage. For further information, review the relevant ATF publication
  5. Non-resident alien: Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States or an alien admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa?
  6. Dishonorable Discharge: Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions?
  7. Traitor: Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his or her citizenship?
  8. Restraining Order: Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner?
  9. Domestic violence related: Has been convicted of any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence? Note the crime does not need to be called "domestic violence". Any misdemeanor conviction that includes the threat or use of force against a spouse, child, cohabitating significant other, or someone similarly situated is a disqualifer.

Please note that the domestic violence disqualifer is one of the most overlooked and misunderstood of all the federal disqualifers. People do not realize that something as simple as a disorderly conduct conviction with the wrong specifications could disqualify them from possessing firearms. Further information can be found at the ATF FAQ: Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence.

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