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Ohio Law Allows Licensed People to Carry Concealed Firearms into Bars

Senate Bill 17, which became effective on September 30, 2011, allows people who have permits to carry concealed firearms into business establishments, such as restaurants and bars, which sell alcoholic beverages. Previously, the law strictly prohibited the carrying of firearms into businesses selling alcoholic beverages.

Q: I own a gun. Can I put it in the inside pocket of my jacket and walk into a bar with it?
A:
 Assuming you are properly licensed, yes. You can now carry your licensed firearm into any business that has been issued a Class D liquor permit. “Class D” businesses may include carry-outs, restaurants, nightclubs, clubs, hotels, shopping malls, marinas, museums and other establishments. 

Q: Are there any restrictions on me if I want to carry a concealed firearm into a business that serves alcohol?
A:
 Yes. If you are consuming alcohol or are under the influence of alcohol, you are not allowed to carry a concealed firearm into any business, including a business that serves alcohol. The law, however, does not specify whether a business owner has either the right or the obligation to ask patrons if they are carrying concealed firearms before serving them alcohol. 
 
Q: What does the law say about carrying a concealed, loaded gun in a car?
A: 
 Although Senate Bill 17 is most widely known for allowing “concealed carry” in restaurants and bars, it also changes much of the law regulating the transport of firearms in a vehicle. Previously, a loaded firearm could only be transported in a vehicle if it was contained in a holster or a locked box, or was in plain sight. Senate Bill 17 lifted those requirements. Now, assuming you are properly licensed, you are allowed to transport a concealed, loaded firearm in a vehicle you are driving or riding in as a passenger without these restrictions.

Q: If I am stopped by an officer, do I have to report that I have a loaded firearm in my car?
A:
 Yes. A few procedures about carrying a concealed firearm in a vehicle were unchanged by Senate Bill 17. If you are stopped for law enforcement purposes and you have a  loaded firearm in your car, you must inform the officer that a loaded firearm is in the vehicle and you must tell the officer you have a “concealed carry” license. The officer may ask to see the license, at which time you should produce it. You must keep your hands in plain sight of the officer and you must not touch the firearm unless the officer directs you to do so. If you are carrying the gun in your own vehicle, the officer likely will know you have a concealed carry license as that information will be tied to your vehicle registration.
 
Q: May private business owners restrict or prohibit persons from carrying concealed firearms  onto their businesses premises?
A:
 Yes. Private business owners still have the authority to prohibit concealed handguns at their business locations, but they must post a notice in a conspicuous place stating that concealed firearms are prohibited on the premises.

1/9/2012

This “Law You Can Use” column was provided by the Ohio State Bar Association. It was prepared by attorney Lisa A. Wafer, an attorney with the Columbus law firm, Saia & Piatt, Inc.

Articles appearing in this column are intended to provide broad, general information about the law. Before applying this information to a specific legal problem, readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney.

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