The following is a video transcript.
Hi, it’s Wilkes Ellsworth your Independent Program Attorney for Ohio.
Today, I’d like to talk to you about guns and sports. With there always being some sports season going on and the number of people carrying firearms in the state of Ohio ever growing, I wanted to discuss guns and sporting events to clarify when and where you’re allowed to have them when attending these events at the various facilities around the state. It’s pretty easy in Ohio as they are essentially banned almost everywhere, but let’s go through them anyways.
The NFL has long had a harsh policy on guns, and they not only prohibit all of their players and employees from having them in the stadium, but they also ban them for patrons as well. Paul Brown Stadium where the Bengals play and First Energy Stadium where the Browns play clearly prohibit anyone, even those with licenses to carry concealed firearms, from bringing them into the stadium.
As far as Major League Baseball is concerned, they are pretty much like the NFL with only a slight difference when it comes to off-duty law enforcement officers. Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, for instance, has the following policy: “Great American Ballpark is a county facility, and it is illegal to carry a firearm, deadly weapon, or dangerous ordnance in Great American Ballpark. Unless otherwise authorized by law, no person shall knowingly possess, have under the person’s control, convey or attempt to convey a deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance into the ballpark. A permit to carry a concealed weapon issued by this or any other state does not authorize the holder to carry weapons inside the ballpark. Off-duty law enforcement officers are authorized under law to have a concealed weapon on the premises. Off-duty law enforcement officers who carry a concealed weapon into the ballpark are requested to notify a policy supervisor upon entering the ballpark so their identification and seat location can be verified and noted.”
Carrying at Colleges and School Sporting Events
As far as colleges go, it’s pretty much the same. Ohio Stadium on Ohio State’s campus and essentially all other college stadiums, and facilities for that matter, ban firearms even to CCW holders. No college that I know of is ever, nor would I imagine, will they ever in the near future lift such a restriction. Colleges are already prohibited places, remember, unless they take measures to lift the prohibition and they will be few and far between. Even if they did, I would imagine they would likely still keep firearms out of the facilities where sporting events are held. And the only place you are allowed to have your gun on a college campus is in your locked motor vehicle. Essentially, you will need to know the policy specifics of the particular school you’re interested in, but I wouldn’t hold my breath on this one.
High schools and other grade schools follow suit as you might expect. Remember Ohio Revised Code dictates, “Ohio prohibits any person from knowingly possessing a firearm in a school safety zone. The prohibition does not apply to a concealed handgun license holder who possesses a handgun in a school safety zone if the person does not enter into a school building or on to school premises and is not at a school activity and is in compliance with other federal law.” In relation to high schools and grade schools what you should take away from that is the definition of school safety zone and premises. A school safety zone consists of any school, school building, school premises, school activity, or school bus. And the premises themselves is all the land and the buildings that are situated on it. And in the end, it basically covers everything.
Now, there may be some confusion about on campus and off campus. I would suggest that if it is a school-related activity, regardless of whether it’s on the grounds or not, it counts and guns are forbidden. Unfortunately, it’s almost a universal ban for almost all sporting events and activities, so better to be safe than sorry and leave them home or locked safely in your vehicle.
As always, feel free to call U.S. LawShield anytime to discuss these or any other topics you might have with your Independent Program Attorney.