Transport, Open, & Concealed
Possession of a firearm in Ohio can be classified into three distinct behaviors.
- Transportation of a firearm
- Open Carry - (visible) possession of a firearm
- Concealed Carry - Non-visible possession of a firearm
Each of the three of these is explained here so that their use within this site is better understood.
Transportation of a firearm
Taking your firearms to the range or with you while you travel is obviously transportation. §2923.16 (Improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle) commonly comes into play. However, case law, or precedents set by the courts in prior criminal cases in Ohio, often has a chilling effect on the manner in which someone must transport a firearm in Ohio.
Remember: A person in Ohio who has a concealed handgun license finds themselves "exempted" from some of the laws that strictly mandate how to transport a firearm in a motor vehicle. If you frequently transport firearms its a good idea to obtain a license to carry just to eliminate some of these transportation pitfalls. Just remember to fully understand the requirement to promptly inform.
Interstate travel (where you traverse state lines while traveling brings federal laws and protections into play. For instance, the Firearms Owners' Protection Act (FOPA) allows you to transport a firearm from point A to point B - presuming that you can lawfully own the firearm in question in both locations. A number of local laws and court decisions have complicated this federal law. The NRA has a well written article on the topic [Guide to the Interstate Transportation of FIrearms]
Open carry is lawful in Ohio and comes with arguably less preliminary requirements than a concealed handgun licensee must go through in order to carry a firearm. However, open carry in Ohio by an individual not also licensed to carry concealed comes with many pitfalls. Most notably is the fact that in order to enter any motor vehicle an open carrier must unload the firearm and properly transport it.
A concealed handgun licensee is permitted to have a loaded handgun in a vehicle. With the recent adoption of restaurant carry in Ohio while open carry is "lawful" within a restaurant it is only permitted by a person who is licensed to carry a concealed handgun. Walking into a Class-D establishment with a visible firearm and no license to carry is illegal in Ohio.
Concealed carry is obviously the possession of a firearm concealed. In Ohio this requires a license to carry concealed issued by the State of Ohio or any of the states with which the State of Ohio has entered into a reciprocity agreement.