Ohio law prevents any member of the firearms industry from being held liable for damages or from being subject to an injunction as a result of the operation or discharge of a firearm. This rule does not apply, however, if the industry member operated or discharged the firearm that resulted in the harm in a tortious manner, or if the industry member sold, lent, gave, or furnished the firearm illegally. This rule also does not apply to a product liability action, or an action for breach of contract or breach of an express warranty.1
Ohio provides limited immunity for owners, operators or users of a shooting range.2
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- Ohio Rev. Code § 2305.401(B). “Member of the firearms industry” means any manufacturer, dealer, or importer of firearms, firearms components, or firearms ammunition or any trade association the members of which, in whole or in part, are manufacturers, dealers, or importers of firearms, firearms components, or firearms ammunition. Ohio Rev. Code § 2305.401(A)(4), (C)(2), (3). This statute also applies to tort or other civil actions commenced on or after the effective date of this section, or commenced prior to and pending on the effective date of this section, for damages or injunctive relief based upon harm allegedly sustained by any person as a result of the operation or discharge of a firearm. Ohio Rev. Code § 2305.401(D).
- Owners, operators, or users of a shooting range are not liable in damages to any person for harm allegedly caused by noise at a range or the failure to limit or suppress noise at a range if the owner, operator, or user substantially complies with noise rules prescribed by the Chief of the Division of Wildlife (“Chief”). Ohio Rev. Code § 1533.85(A)(1), (2). These provisions do not confer immunity from civil liability in relation to an owner’s, operator’s, or user’s actions or omissions that constitute negligence, willful or wanton misconduct, or intentionally tortious conduct if those actions or omissions are not the subject of the Chief’s noise rules or are not in substantial compliance with the Chief’s rules. Ohio Rev. Code § 1533.85(A)(2)(d). State and municipal courts are not permitted to grant injunctive relief against the owner or operator of a shooting range in a nuisance action if the court determines that the owner’s or operator’s actions or omissions that are the subject of a complaint substantially complied with the Chief’s noise or public safety rules, whichever apply to the nuisance action. Ohio Rev. Code § 1533.85(C).