What Are Red Flag Gun Laws: Unlawful Firearms Possession

Written By: Moermond & Mulligan, LLC

Last Updated: 04-24-2024

Posted on Monday, April 1st, 2024 at 9:00 am    

What Are Red Flag Gun Laws Unlawful Firearms Possession

Have you heard about red flag gun laws and wondered what they mean for Ohio residents? Proponents of these laws say they help prevent individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others from accessing firearms. Meanwhile, opponents say they deprive gun owners of their Second Amendment rights. These laws are at the center of vigorous debate across the country, including here in Ohio, though the state currently does not have a red flag law.

The Cincinnati weapons crimes defense lawyers at Moermond & Mulligan, LLC are dedicated to providing clear, understandable insights into Ohio’s gun control laws. While Ohio does not currently have a red flag law, there are other laws restricting who can own guns in the state and what guns people can buy. Violating these laws can lead to harsh penalties, including lengthy jail sentences and harsh fines.

What Are “Red Flag Laws?”

The basic goal of red flag laws is to prevent potential harm by allowing authorities to temporarily remove firearms from people seen as a threat to themselves or others. These measures come into play in various situations, such as when someone shows signs of mental distress or makes violent threats. Depending on the law, family members, law enforcement, teachers, or medical professionals can request a court to act if they notice alarming behavior.

These laws work by permitting courts to issue temporary extreme risk protection orders. In most cases, this process includes a hearing where the person in question has a chance to respond. The goal is to reduce the risks of violence while respecting people’s legal rights.

Supporters argue that red flag laws save lives by letting the authorities act swiftly in potentially dangerous situations. However, opponents believe these laws can infringe on individual rights and often question the fairness of preemptive action.

Does Ohio Have a Red Flag Law?

Currently, Ohio does not have a red flag law (sometimes called an “extreme risk law”). While State Rep. Michele Grim, D-Toledo, introduced a bill to enact a red flag law in 2023, the measure did not pass. If passed, the law would have allowed family members or the police to petition the courts to remove guns from someone who might be at risk of hurting themselves or others. At the time, Rep. Grim said the law would have allowed people to challenge these court orders to account for due process.

Which States Have Red Flag Laws?

According to the gun control advocacy organization Everytown for Gun Safety, 21 states and the District of Columbia have adopted red flag laws. The states that have passed red flag laws are:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Is There a Federal Red Flag Law?

Currently, there is no federal red flag law. It’s up to individual states to decide if and how they want to implement these laws.

Do Red Flag Laws Work?

As with many political issues in the U.S., the question of whether red flag laws “work” is highly contested. Supporters argue that these laws play a significant role in preventing suicides by taking guns away from people who might hurt themselves. Advocates of red flag laws also argue they play a crucial role in mitigating potential domestic violence incidents by taking guns away from abusive spouses and dating partners.

On the other hand, there’s little hard data on the effectiveness of red flag laws. Opponents of these laws also argue that they present a serious challenge to people’s Second Amendment rights. Additionally, opponents argue that these laws rob individuals of their right to due process by limiting their right to challenge weapons seizures.

Do You Need a Concealed Carry Permit in Ohio?

According to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, gun owners no longer need a permit to carry a concealed handgun. In fact, gun owners can openly carry firearms within certain limits. Some areas where you cannot openly carry weapons include school safety zones, courthouses, jails, and other detention facilities, police and sheriff’s stations, government buildings, religious houses of worship, and many liquor establishments.

Ohio Laws on Unlawful Firearms Possession

Though Ohio does not currently have a red flag law, the state does have restrictions on who can own guns. Some Ohio laws on unlawful firearms possession include:

  • No one under 18 is allowed to buy any type of firearm.
  • People under 21 cannot buy handguns except in limited circumstances.
  • “Violent career criminals” are not allowed to have guns.
  • Fugitives cannot possess weapons in Ohio.
  • Anyone under indictment for or convicted of a violent felony cannot possess firearms.
  • Anyone with substance abuse issues cannot possess firearms.
  • Anyone deemed mentally incompetent, who has been committed to a mental institution, or is the subject of a court order related to mental illness cannot possess firearms.
  • State law says it’s illegal to carry or use a weapon while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

What to Do If You Face Weapons Crimes Charges in Ohio

What Are Red Flag Gun Laws_ Unlawful Firearms Possession 2Facing weapons crime charges in Ohio can be daunting and stressful. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s crucial to act quickly and make smart decisions to protect yourself.

First, remain calm and do not discuss the details of your case with anyone but your attorney. Remember that the authorities can use anything you say against you in court. Next, contact a reliable defense attorney who understands Ohio’s firearm laws. They can help you through the legal process and build a strong defense. Make sure to attend all court appearances and comply with any court orders, as failing to do so could worsen your situation. Finally, gather any relevant evidence and witness statements that may support your case and share these with your lawyer. These steps can significantly influence the outcome of your case and help protect your rights.

Contact Our Ohio Weapons Crimes Defense Attorneys Now

If you face weapons crime charges in Ohio or have questions about any of the laws concerning illegal firearms possession, Moermond & Mulligan, LLC can help. Call us today or complete our contact form for a free consultation with one of our Cincinnati weapons crimes defense attorneys.