Varying Gun Laws
Hello, U.S. LawShield members. It’s Wilkes Ellsworth, your Ohio Independent Program Attorney. Well, school’s out. The vacation time you’ve stocked up is burning a hole in your pocket, and friends and family are making plans to enjoy the nice weather. It’s finally summer in Ohio. Before you head to a swimming pool, beach, lake, or park, make sure you do your research, especially if your plans take you beyond the borders of the Buckeye State. Remember, every state has different laws and you don’t want to see your gun rights taken away by a simple mistake or lack of preparation. Someone wiser than me once said, “Preparation is the foundation of success.”
Don’t Risk a Trespassing Charge
Now, let’s look at some common mistakes made by Ohioans when it comes to carrying a gun while having fun in the sun. Water parks, summer concerts, and outdoor festivals can be fun family getaways, but these events are usually located on private property that is lawfully entitled to prohibit firearms, and almost all do just that. There are not many commonly known large scale venues that allow firearms on the property. This includes the two big amusement parks in Ohio: King’s Island in Cincinnati, and Cedar Point in Sandusky. Remember, signage in Ohio regarding the prohibition of firearms on private property have the force of law behind them. If you’re given effective notice that you cannot carry a firearm at the entrance or while you’re within one of these locations, you must leave the area and secure your firearm before returning. Don’t risk a trespassing charge.
Federal Law Prohibits Guns in Some Public Locations
When it comes to public locations like rivers, lakes, or beaches, you’re generally allowed to carry your handgun with your valid CCW license. However, there are areas where gun owners can get burned if they don’t pay attention. For instance, the Army Corps of Engineers restricted property is generally a prohibited place for weapons and your Ohio CCW license will not afford you extra protection. A Nixon-era prohibition of guns on federal property controlled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers goes back to the early 1970s and covers 12 million acres of land around lakes and rivers. Keep your fingers crossed for the passage of some current legislation pending that would remove the restrictions and bring the law in line with the rest of federally controlled public lands. But until that passes, Army Corps of Engineer controlled lands are generally exclusion zones for firearms.
Carry in the Park
The next topic we often receive questions about is carrying in parks. Whether they are municipal, state, or national parks, all of these areas are considered public places under the law, and with a valid CCW license you may legally carry your handgun. Keep in mind, however, that you will be prohibited from carrying your firearm into park buildings and facilities, whether they are national or state parks.
Be a Respectful Guest
What if you’re invited to a pool party or other summer function at someone’s house? Well, if a homeowner personally tells you they are uncomfortable with your firearm, even if you’re helping with the grill, you must respect their wishes and either cut your visit short or secure the firearm in your vehicle or your home. Upon returning to the party, go ahead and make the biggest cannonball splash possible.
If you have any questions about carrying while having fun in the sun or any other questions, you can always call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.