The following is a video transcript.
The holiday season is upon us and families and friends are getting together to celebrate. What is your responsibility when someone, whether it be a family member or a friend, comes to your house where you have your loaded firearm? What if you go where they are and you are carrying? And what happens if that friend or family member is not allowed to be around guns?
Let’s focus on Ohio Revised Code Section 2923.13 entitled “Having weapons while under disability.” You are classified as having a legal disability in Ohio for purposes of firearms if you are convicted or under indictment for certain felony offenses of violence, a fugitive from justice, drug dependent or a chronic alcoholic, or are adjudicated by a court mentally incompetent. So remember, if your friend or family member falls into one of these categories, you must use caution for not only yourself, but to also protect them from being charged under the statute for having weapons while under disability.
This is no minor offense. It is a felony of the third degree in Ohio, which carries a potential prison sentence of 9 to 36 months and a $10,000 fine. As far as you are concerned, you run the risk of possibly being charged as well. Your responsibilities will be defined by the circumstances. If your family member borrows your car, make sure your firearm is not in it. If the person is going to be sleeping in your house, make sure your firearms are not stored in the bedroom where they will be staying.
Do not leave your loaded firearms out in open areas—the statute specifically says people with disabilities cannot have firearms on or about their person, so they cannot be around guns whatsoever. Again, we want to not only protect you from getting into trouble but obviously not put our friend or family member in jeopardy of being criminally charged as well.
That being said, be mindful that in addition to the legal disabilities I discussed before, if the person is a named party in a protection order or if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they cannot be in possession of firearms. In reality, you are not tasked with running background checks on everyone you come into contact with, but if you are aware that they cannot be around guns or in possession of guns for whatever reason, you will be responsible to a certain extent. Take precautions for both of your sakes.