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Know the Laws: Ohio

UPDATED April 28, 2017

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WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. Go to the OH Where to Find Help page for legal assistance or a domestic violence organization in your area.

Guns and Criminal Convictions

back to topIf the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?

It depends on the crime.  Under Ohio state law, a person cannot get a concealed handgun license if s/he was convicted of, pleaded guilty to, or adjudicated a delinquent child for committing the crime of domestic violence in Ohio or a similar crime in another state.*  In addition, s/he cannot get a concealed handgun license if any of the following other criminal activities took place:

  1. s/he is currently under indictment for, or otherwise currently charged with, a felony, a misdemeanor offense of violence, negligent assault, falsifying a handgun license, or certain drug-related offenses (you can see which drug offenses in the statute, section (D)(1)(d));
  2. s/he was convicted of or plead guilty to certain drug-related offenses or was adjudicated a delinquent child for committing an act that would be considered these drug-related offenses if committed by an adult (you can see which drug offenses in the statute, section (D)(1)(e));
  3. s/he was convicted of, plead guilty to, or was adjudicated a delinquent child for committing assault when the victim is a peace officer;
  4. within the past three years, s/he was convicted of, plead guilty to, or was adjudicated a delinquent child for committing a misdemeanor offense of violence (other than a few specific crimes, which you can read about in the statute, section (D)(1)(f));
  5. within the past five years, s/he has been convicted of, pleaded guilty to, or adjudicated a delinquent child for committing two or more violations of the crimes of assault or negligent assault;
  6. within the past ten years, s/he has been convicted of, pleaded guilty to, or adjudicated a delinquent child for committing a violation of the crime of resisting arrest.**
Also, Ohio state law says that if a deadly weapon (including a firearm) is used while committing a domestic violence crime or while violating a protection order, the police officers who come to the scene of the crime have the right to seize (take) the weapon.***

In addition, under federal law, if the abuser has been convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor, s/he cannot have or buy a gun.****  If you're not sure if the abuser has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, see What crimes are considered domestic violence misdemeanors?

* Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.125(D)(1)(s)
** Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.125(D)(1)
*** Ohio Rev. Code § 2935.03(h)
**** 18 USC § 922(g)(9)

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back to topIf a law enforcement officer or other government employee is convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor, can s/he have or buy a gun?

No. Law enforcement officers and other government officials who have been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony cannot have or buy guns for any purpose, including their official duties, according to federal law.*

* 18 USC 925 (a) (1)

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back to topHow can I find out if my abuser has been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor or felony?

Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access. If you know the exact courthouse where your abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.

Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS. Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so.  To read more about the NCIS, please see the question, What will happen if my abuser tries to purchase a gun?

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