In these trying times, with an ever-growing climate of fear and concern for personal safety and with the spotlight firmly positioned on self-defense scenarios, let’s focus on some common issues Ohioans face when it comes to carrying firearms in large metropolitan areas in our state. Cincinnati is a good representative city and will be the focus.

Businesses, Restaurants, and Bars

Cincinnati is replete with businesses, restaurants, bars, and office buildings, all of which may restrict carrying a firearm with proper signage. If you are carrying in Cincinnati and will be entering and exiting multiple locations, take note of the no guns signs—these signs have the force of law. Violators could face a trespassing citation for failure to heed properly posted warnings.

Further, unlike some other states, and without local restriction by the city of Cincinnati, license holders may carry their concealed firearms in restaurants and bars but may not at any time consume any alcohol whatsoever. Carrying a firearm while consuming alcohol risks potential criminal penalties for “using firearms while intoxicated.” Where you are going in the city and what you will be doing are important considerations when planning your visit and deciding whether to bring your firearm or not.

Ball Games and Museums

Going to a ballgame? Remember that the Great American Ballpark and Paul Brown Stadium prohibit firearm carry (both open and concealed), so if you are going to watch the Bengals play or attend any other event at these venues, make sure you do not carry your firearm with you.

Further, a quick check of the rules for the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Taft Art Museum made no mention of firearm prohibition, but look out for signage nonetheless. If you see it, follow the signage and do not carry your firearms. Cincinnati is home to many theaters. Although Ohio law does not ban the carrying of firearms in theaters, just like any private property owner, the theater can ban firearm carry. So, if your plans include any of Cincinnati’s popular theaters such as the Aronoff Center and Music Hall, we suggest that the best practice would be to check the specific venue’s rules before leaving the house so you are not caught off guard.

Carry on Public Transportation

There has been a debate about public transportation and firearm carry in Cincinnati for the last several years. The city cannot prohibit legal concealed carry on the Southwest Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) bus system, but does claim it can prohibit open carry. However, the city concedes that the downtown “Cincinnati Connect” trolley system is treated differently in that both types of carry (open or concealed) are legal. How do they reconcile this? Suffice it to say that it comes down to the legal definitions of the vehicles themselves and statutory interpretation.

Remain Alert

When visiting Cincinnati, you must be aware of your surroundings. “Street crimes” like robbery or assault are unfortunately more common in downtown Cincinnati. Keep to the “beaten path,” travel on well-lit streets, do not walk alone if possible, and park in populated lighted garages and lots.

If you come to Cincinnati, enjoy the city for all it has to offer and follow the basic rules for gun carry with an awareness of your surroundings, and you should have a great visit.

If you have any questions regarding carrying a firearm during your time in Cincinnati, or anywhere else in Ohio, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney.


The preceding should not be construed as legal advice nor the creation of an attorney-client relationship. This is not an endorsement or solicitation for any service. Your situation may be different, so please contact your attorney regarding your specific circumstances. Because the laws, judges, juries, and prosecutors vary from location to location, similar or even identical facts and circumstances to those described in this presentation may result in significantly different legal outcomes. This presentation is by no means a guarantee or promise of any particular legal outcome, positive, negative, or otherwise.