What are the laws for using someone else’s gun for self-defense in Ohio? What if I’m coming to another person’s rescue and use their firearm or a stranger’s firearm to do so? What if I am defending myself and use my spouse’s gun? We can blend all of these different scenarios of personal self-defense and third-party defense in the same answer.
Is it Legal?
First and foremost, if you can legally possess and use a firearm in the state of Ohio, regardless of whether you have a CCW license or not, then it doesn’t really matter who the gun belongs to. When it comes to using a gun for self-defense or defense of another, it simply makes no difference. We don’t have any registration requirement in our state and there is no mandate or law that says you can only use your own firearm(s) and no one else’s. If you are in a situation that demands the use of deadly force, whether it is to protect yourself or someone else, any gun will suffice.
Justified Deadly Force
We still need all the elements to be present to justify the use of deadly force. For instance, if you are in the car and your wife is threatened with unlawful deadly force in a parking lot, and the only firearm available is the one in her purse, grab the firearm and use it. It is no different than your gun at home.
Perhaps you stumble upon a stranger in a deadly confrontation with a criminal who is trying to hurt them. Someone hands you their firearm because they don’t want to get involved. You can go to the stranger’s rescue with the gun, and without any legal liability for using that particular firearm.
What if I Can’t Own a Gun?
What if you aren’t in a position to legally own, possess, or carry a firearm in Ohio? Can you still use another person’s gun to help yourself or another? Absolutely! In an emergency situation where you are able to come to the aid of another—whether that be a perfect stranger, family member, or to defend yourself—another person’s gun would certainly be the only alternative in this particular case. Your right to self-defense or defense of another is not abdicated because you don’t have and/or can’t have a weapon.
For example, you and a friend are walking home from the movies and a robber confronts you on the sidewalk. Your friend who is carrying his firearm is shot by the robber before he can do anything. You can certainly retrieve your friend’s firearm and use it to defend yourself and your friend from further harm. You would not be subjected to criminal prosecution, either for using a firearm, or by virtue of the fact it did not belong to you.
If you have any questions regarding self-defense, contact U.S. LawShield and ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney.