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Penalties for Carrying a CCW on Private Property Where Prohibited

Despite Ohio being an open-carry State (meaning individuals do not need a license to carry a firearm openly in public if they are eligible to carry it), concealed carry (or “CCW”) permits have become popular. These licenses permit individuals to possess a concealed firearm or carry it concealed on their person. This does not mean individuals with a CCW license can carry their firearm anywhere. There are certain exceptions that include but are not limited to government buildings, schools, and places of worship. If a CCW permit holder carries a firearm in a prohibited area, the individual could be criminally prosecuted. 

Many people do not realize that even private land owners or privately owned establishments can prohibit CCW permit holders from carrying a firearm on their land. However, if these establishments are prohibiting firearms, they must place a sign in a conspicuous location on the premises so people can see the sign. If someone knowingly violates the prohibition, the individual could be charged with criminal trespass, a fourth degree misdemeanor in violation of RC 2923.126(C)(3)(a). If someone knowingly violates the sign but the posted land or premises was primarily a parking lot or parking facility such as a parking garage, the individual can not be prosecuted criminally. Instead, the only recourse from the land owner is to file a civil lawsuit for trespass against the person who knowingly violated the prohibition. In either instance, the CCW holder must have actual knowledge he or she is violating the sign’s prohibition in order to be criminally or civilly prosecuted for trespass.

If you or someone you know have questions about Ohio gun laws or have been charged with a firearms offense, do not hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at Rittgers & Rittgers at 513-932-2115.

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