The following is a video transcript.
Hello U.S. LawShield members. It’s Wilkes Ellsworth, your Independent Program Attorney back again to discuss the three of the most common mistakes Ohio gun owners make all too regularly.
Number one: brandishing a firearm when it isn’t justified to threaten deadly force. The statute says, “No person shall knowingly cause another to believe that the offender will cause serious physical harm to the person or property of the other person, the other person’s unborn, or a member of the other person’s immediate family.” If you threaten to shoot someone or make them believe you will, and are not justified to do so, you could be charged with Aggravated Menacing. Remember, you must have a bona fide belief your life is in danger or that you may suffer great bodily harm, and you must believe your firearm is the only option you have to avoid it, before you use it.
Not Complying with Law Enforcement
Mistake number two: failing to comply with law enforcement. You need to be very careful when engaging police officers while carrying a loaded firearm. License holders: Ohio is a “shall notify” state. When you are approached by law enforcement for any law enforcement purpose, you must promptly inform the officer you have your loaded firearm with you at that time. I have members tell me, “But it was in the trunk of my car, so I didn’t think I had to tell them” or, “I had it in the glove compartment and I forgot.” I see it so often. Officers will charge you for this without hesitation.
Safety, Transportation, and Storage
Mistake number three (this one is kind of a catchall): safety, transportation, and storage. I see so many people who aren’t steadfast in how they handle firearms in public, how they transport them, or when moving them from their person to their car. For example, I was at my daughter’s soccer game and the lady parked directly in front of me took her loaded firearm out. I watched as she set it on the roof of her car, then unloaded all of her chairs, blankets, and everything else she was taking. Then she promptly walked away from her car, leaving her gun still sitting on the roof. I simply got out of my vehicle and reminded her about it, to her great surprise.
Please, be more conscientious than this person was. Transport firearms properly. If you have a license, you may have them loaded, of course. If you do not, then you must transport them in an unloaded fashion, and in a closed case, separate and apart from the ammunition.
Finally, never forget proper storage is very important, as careless storage can lead to serious incidents, which could cost you big time, either in a criminal court or a civil court. Ohio law does not dictate how you store your firearm, but common law does. Take the proper precautions. Continuing your firearm education is always a good idea as well. Get and stay proficient with your gun, and always be conscientious of those around you in public and at home.
Now of course, there are more mistakes people make and if you have any questions on any of those, or anything else for that matter, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.