Weapons Possession: Know Your Felonies Part 4
Ohio’s gun and knife laws
While the Constitution affords Ohioans the right to bear arms, this power carries great responsibility. Knowing your exact rights surrounding the purchase or possession of a deadly weapon can help you avoid additional charges, arrest and a call to a Columbus criminal attorney.
There are two factors at play for carrying a concealed weapon: it must be eligible and you must have a permit. To apply for a concealed carry (CCW) license, you’re required to follow a rigorous set of guidelines ranging from a background check to competency certifications.
However, a CCW doesn’t stand everywhere. In Ohio, it’s illegal to carry in restricted establishments like places of worship, schools or government buildings. The laws also regulate how weapons can be transported and how to respond to a police officer when you are carrying.
Firearm offenses you need to know
Whether it’s a robbery, an assault or a motor vehicle violation, a charge increases from a misdemeanor to a felony if it includes the presence of a firearm. In addition to the illegal possession or carrying of a firearm, the following are considered firearms offenses:
- Failure to report a lost firearm: This is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. In addition, if a crime is committed with your weapon, the report is valuable evidence.
- Using a weapon under the influence: Discharging a weapon while drunk or under the influence of drugs is illegal.
- Using a weapon in a moving vehicle: It is illegal to transport a loaded weapon in a motor vehicle or to fire a weapon from a moving vehicle.
- Carrying a weapon at a school or courthouse: Ohio state law expressly forbids carrying a weapon on school or courthouse grounds at any time.
Unlike Ohio’s gun laws, knife laws can vary from town to town. The law regarding carrying and using knives is fairly short in Ohio, but it has an effect on cases where knives are displayed or used. Almost every town has its own ordinances regarding possession, carrying and using knives. This means that what’s legal in Columbus may not be in Cleveland or Cincinnati, and defending a case involving any kind of blade requires in-depth knowledge of the various laws throughout the state.
Carrying vs. concealing a knife
While you cannot carry a concealed deadly weapon other than a handgun, short blades that can be reasonably considered a “tool” are allowed. This includes folding and fixed blades under a certain length. Again, however, the length is determined by municipality and not by the state of Ohio.
Carrying an unlawfully concealed weapon is a first-degree misdemeanor, although certain factors can elevate it to a fourth-degree felony. In addition, several kinds of knives are considered particularly dangerous or are thought to be manufactured for the purpose of illicit use. The following knives cannot be sold in Ohio:
- Switchblade knives: A knife with a folding or sliding blade concealed in its handle
- Spring blade knives: A switchblade knife that opens by pushing a button with a spring-operated release
- Gravity knives: A switchblade designed to be opened with one hand with the force of motion or gravity
- Ballistic knives: A knife with a detachable blade that is propelled by a spring-operated mechanism
Talk to a Columbus criminal attorney
Not only are the weapons laws throughout Ohio varying, but they are also intricate. When you have been accused of a crime involving a weapon, you need a knowledgeable attorney to help you avoid enhanced charges and penalties. Contact the Columbus criminal attorneys of Yavitch & Palmer to discuss your case. Call us at 614-224-6142 or schedule an appointment online, even during evenings or weekends when necessary.
Learn more about Stephen Palmer, a dedicated Columbus criminal defense attorney for more than 19 years.