In 2022, Ohio made it easier for teachers and other adults with written permission from the board of education or governing body of a school to carry guns into K-12 schools. Pursuant to such permission, a person who wishes to carry a firearm on school grounds must submit to an annual background check and take a training course developed by the Department of Public Safety that includes no more than 24 hours of instruction and no more than 8 hours for annual re-certification.1
Otherwise, Ohio generally prohibits any person from knowingly possessing a firearm in a “school safety zone.”2 Ohio also prohibits the knowing possession in a school safety zone of any object indistinguishable from a firearm, whether or not it is capable of being fired, if the possessor indicates that he or she possesses the object and that it is a firearm, or the person knowingly displays or brandishes the object and indicates that it is a firearm.3 A “school safety zone” consists of any school, school building, school premises, school activity or school bus.4
This prohibition does not apply to a a person who possesses a handgun in a school safety zone if the person does not enter into a school building or onto school premises and is not at a school activity and is in compliance with federal law.5 This prohibition also does not apply to concealed handgun license holder who possesses a handgun in a school safety zone and the handgun remains in the vehicle and, if the person exists the vehicle, the person locks the vehicle.6
Note, however, that federal law prohibits people without concealed handgun licenses from carrying a firearm within a school safety zone that is defined as “in, or on the grounds of, a public, parochial or private school that provides elementary or secondary education or within a distance of 1,000 feet from the grounds of a public, parochial or private school that provides elementary or secondary education.”7 Ohio defines a “school zone” more broadly to include school activities and school buses outside of the locations specified by federal law. In 2022, Ohio passed a law allowing anyone who is a “qualifying adult” to carry a firearm without a concealed handgun license in any location where the state allows individuals with licenses to carry. Accordingly, unless otherwise prohibited by state law, a person without a concealed handgun license may be able to carry at school activities and on school buses that are not in a federal school zone.
A concealed handgun license does not authorize a person to carry a concealed handgun on premises owned or leased by a college, university or other institution of higher education, unless the handgun is in a locked motor vehicle.8
The superintendent of schools of a city, exempted village, or local school district must expel a pupil from school for a period of one year if the pupil brings a firearm to a school operated by the board of education of the district or onto any other property owned or controlled by the board.9 The superintendent may expel a pupil from school for a period of one year for bringing a firearm to an interscholastic competition, an extracurricular event, or any other school program or activity that is not located in a school or on property that is owned or controlled by the district.10 The superintendent may reduce these disciplinary actions on case-by-case bases in accordance with board policy.11
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- Ohio Rev. Code §§ 2923.122(D)(1)(d); 5502.703.
- Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.122(B).
- Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.122(C).
- Ohio Rev. Code § 2901.01(C)(1).
- Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.122(D)(3).
- Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.122(D)(4).
- 18 U.S.C. §§ 921(a)(25)-(26); 922(q)(2)(A).
- Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.126(B)(5).
- Ohio Rev. Code § 3313.66(B)(2)(a).
- Ohio Rev. Code § 3313.66(B)(2)(b).
- Ohio Rev. Code § 3313.66(B)(2)(a), (b).