What Are the Penalties for Having a Gun in My Car?

In this country, your right to bear arms is protected under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And while states cannot enact laws that illegally restrict that right, they can establish statutes that regulate how you can handle your firearm. In Ohio, one such law is that concerning having a gun in your vehicle.

O.R.C. 2923.16, improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, lists various types of conduct that are prohibited. If you violate a subsection of this law, the penalties you could be facing depend on the part you’re accused of violating.

Firing a Gun from Your Motor Vehicle

The first subsection of O.R.C. 2923.16 deals with discharging a gun from your car. If you knowingly engage in this behavior, you could be charged with a fourth-degree felony. The penalties for a conviction include up to 18 months in prison.

Having a Loaded Firearm in Your Car

You are prohibited from having a loaded firearm in your car that you, as the driver, or a passenger can access without exiting the vehicle. If you violate this section of the law, you’re committing a fourth-degree felony. A conviction could land you in prison for up to 18 months.

Having a Gun in Your Car

Unless you are lawfully allowed to carry a gun, you cannot have one in your car unless it’s unloaded.

Additionally, you must be transporting it in one of the following ways:

  • In a closed box, case, or package;
  • In an area that can only be accessed by leaving the car; or
  • Visibly stored on a rack or holder

If you commit this offense, you could be charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor. If you’re convicted, you could spend up to 30 days in jail.

Transporting a Gun While Under the Influence

It’s illegal for you to have a gun in your car when either you or your passenger is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. This offense is a fifth-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 12 months in prison. However, if the gun is hidden on your person, the charge increases to a fourth-degree felony. In that case, you’re looking at a prison sentence of up to 18 months.

Failing to Notify Law Enforcement of Concealed Carry

Let’s say you have a concealed carry handgun license. If you fail to give proper notification to or follow the instructions of a law enforcement officer, you could still be charged with an offense.

If you are stopped by the police, you must:

  • Let them know you have a concealed handgun in the car;
  • Remain in your vehicle and keep your hands in plain sight;
  • Not touch the gun when the officer is approaching your vehicle or before they leave the scene; and
  • Obey all lawful orders given by the officer

Depending on the circumstances, offenses under this section can be charged as misdemeanors or felonies. A conviction could not only result in jail or prison time but also a suspension of your concealed handgun license.

If you’ve been charged with an offense in Dayton, get 80 years of combined criminal defense experience on your side by calling Rion, Rion & Rion at (937) 223-9133 or contacting us online.

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