Many of us like to travel with our firearms so that we are safe regardless of where we are. Ohio has seen some relatively recent changes in the law when it comes to firearms and air travel. The new law relaxed the restriction on license holders, making it legal to carry your concealed firearm in non-secured portions of airports and on private planes. It does allow you to enter the ticketing area and baggage claim portions of airports in Ohio to help friends or family check in or carry bags to an awaiting vehicle. These new regulations are related to concealed carry only and do not allow you to open carry in these areas or carry long guns.
Now, what if you are the person traveling? First, consider the airport from which you are embarking. Are you flying out of Cleveland, for instance? Then Ohio law applies to you until you get to the airport. Transportation to and from simply means you must abide by all laws as they relate to transportation of firearms in motor vehicles in Ohio. Your firearm needs to be packed in a lockable, hard-sided case which cannot be opened, and a lock affixed where you and only you have the combination or the key. You need to make sure it is unloaded completely, including the magazine or speed loaders. Check and recheck that it is unloaded. You need to declare it at check-in, and will be swearing that it is unloaded, so make sure it is.
Do not, under any circumstances, curbside check your bags with a firearm in them. Remember, firearms and ammunition may only be transported through checked baggage. Ammunition does not have to be stored in the original packaging. 49 CFR 175.10(a)(8) states that small arms ammunition for personal use may be carried by a crew member or passenger in checked baggage only, if securely packaged in boxes or other packaging specifically designed to carry small amounts of ammunition. Magazines must also be securely boxed.
You will be given a declaration card from the ticketing agent at the completion of the process. I implore you to spend some time researching the states you plan on visiting. Make sure you can have that firearm legally in those states. Do they recognize Ohio’s license? Are there any restrictions? What happens if your plane gets diverted due to weather or mechanical problems, and you land in some state other than the one you had planned? Do not pick up your bags before finding out the law in the state you’re in.
As always, if you have any questions or desire any further information on flying with firearms in Ohio, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.