What does Ohio law say when it comes to carrying your firearms in a bank?
Despite what many people think, it is perfectly legal to carry your firearm into a bank in Ohio.
What the law says
That said, let’s look at the relevant law that establishes this right and some caveats of which you need to be aware. First of all, for those licensed to carry concealed firearms in our state, you are familiar with the list of prohibited places in Ohio Rev. Code § 2923.126; banks are not included in that list. Number eight on that list is what throws people off. It’s a pesky catchall provision which can cause confusion.
It states that you cannot carry your concealed firearm, even with a license, in “any place in which federal law prohibits the carrying of handguns.”
So, people tend to believe that since most banks are FDIC insured, thus creating that federal connection that they must fall within this prohibition. They do not, and there is no federal regulation prohibiting the carry of firearms in banks.
What about open carry?
Well, the same rules apply for open carry. Again, it is legal to carry firearms into places that are not otherwise prohibited gun-free zones. That said, you need to make the determination for yourself if you think it is a good idea or not. You never know how others are going to react or feel, or what is going to happen in any place you enter. Banks are no exception.
A CAUTIONARY INCIDENT
I certainly believe it is a good idea to carry concealed in a bank. Remember what happened in Cincinnati in the heart of downtown on September 7th, 2018 when a crazy person entered the Fountain Square branch and killed three people and injured many others before being shot by police who didn’t arrive for over four minutes.
This didn’t have to be as bad as it was but highlights one of those caveats I mentioned before that undermines the general rule of legal bank carry. Banks are considered private entities in Ohio just like every other business. Therefore, they have the right to establish no gun policies for their institutions and post conspicuous signage to that effect.
Remember, signage has the force of law behind it in Ohio and unlike other states, you can be charged with a criminal offense of trespassing for willfully violating posted signage. Unfortunately, that was the Cincinnati Fifth Third’s policy and nobody including the guards were armed and able to defend themselves, which undoubtedly contributed to more deaths and injuries before police arrived.
That puts you, the consumer and law-abiding gun owner, in a precarious position wherein you must choose to either abide by the policy of the bank, disregard it at your own peril, or choose a more constitutional friendly bank to do business with.
As always, if you have any other questions about bank carry, or anything else, please take advantage of that membership benefit and call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to me, your Independent Program Attorney.