• Information for Manufacturers Regarding Am. Sub. H.B. No. 12 Ohio's Concealed Carry Law
  • April 6, 2004
  • Law Firm: Bricker & Eckler LLP - Office
  • What is Ohio's concealed carry law?

    Ohio's new concealed carry law, effective April 8, 2004, permits individuals who meet certain criteria to obtain a license to carry a concealed handgun ("licensees") in Ohio if the licensee carries the license and valid identification when the licensee is carrying the concealed weapon. Although the law does not permit the licensee to carry a concealed handgun into certain governmental buildings and other locations, licensees are not prevented from carrying a concealed handgun into a manufacturing facility, unless the facility has adopted policies to prohibit concealed handguns in the facility.

    Under Ohio law, what is a "handgun" for the purpose of concealed carry?

    A handgun is any of the following:

    • Any firearm that has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand, or

    • Any combination of parts from which a firearm of a type described in clause (1) can be assembled."

    For more information see R.C. 2923.11(C).

    Under the new law, are licensees permitted to carry a concealed handgun into a manufacturing facility?

    Yes. A licensee is permitted to carry a concealed handgun into a manufacturing facility unless the facility has adopted policies banning firearms, including concealed handguns, on its premises. Anyone who knowingly violates the posted prohibition or refuses to leave after being informed of the prohibition may be arrested for criminal trespass.

    Under the new law, is there any place where a licensee is not permitted to carry a concealed handgun?

    Yes. Although Ohio's new concealed carry law enables licensees to carry concealed handguns in Ohio, licensees are prohibited from carrying concealed handguns into certain places, despite their licenses. These places will be referred to as forbidden carry zones hereinafter. For example, licensees may not carry handguns in the following places:

    • Police stations, sheriffs' offices, state highway patrol offices, jails, or state institutions for the mentally ill or mentally retarded;
    • Airport passage terminals;
    • School safety zones (this section does not apply to a licensee who is not on school grounds and is not at a school activity);
    • Courthouses or other buildings where a courtroom is located;
    • Any room or open air arena where liquor is dispensed;
    • Private colleges and universities unless the handgun is in a locked motor vehicle (or the licensee is in the process of placing the handgun in a locked motor vehicle);
    • Churches, synagogues, or mosques;
    • Child day care centers;
    • A transporting aircraft in operation or intended for operation;
    • Buildings owned or leased by Ohio or any political subdivision of Ohio;
    • Any other place where federal law prohibits carrying handguns.

    For more information see R.C. 2923.126(B

    Are manufacturers subject to civil liability for injuries related to a licensee bringing a gun onto the premises?

    The new law does not prevent manufacturers from being sued for such injuries, but it does provide them with civil immunity for acts of a licensee caused by or related to a licensee bringing a handgun into the facility. The new law provides that private employers, which includes manufacturers, are immune from liability in a civil action for any injury, death, or loss to person or property allegedly caused by or related to a licensee bringing a handgun onto the private employer's premises or property, including motor vehicles owned by the private employer. This defense is not available to a private employer, however, if the employer is found to have acted with a "malicious purpose."

    Note that private employers are also immune from liability in a civil action for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that was allegedly caused by or related to the employer's decision to permit or prohibit the carrying of handguns on its premises. For more information see R.C. 2923.126(C)(2)(a).

    Does this new law apply to our employees, buyers, suppliers, vendors, or any other person who may enter the facility?

    Yes. The new law permits anyone who can meet its licensing requirements to lawfully carry a concealed weapon anywhere in Ohio as long as the licensee is not in a forbidden carry zone and as long as the facility has not adopted policies prohibiting concealed weapons on the premises. Therefore, manufacturers have the authority to regulate firearms on their private property and should decide whether to prohibit firearms in the facility.

    For more information on the authority of private employers to regulate firearms on their property see R.C.2923.126(C)(1).

    What should manufacturers do to address this new law?

    The manufacturing facility must first decide if it wants to prohibit licensees from carrying concealed handguns into the facility. This is the first important administrative decision that must be made. If the facility decides to adopt a prohibit, the next step is to determine how it will deal with employees, suppliers, buyers and others who bring a concealed handgun to the facility. We recommend that representatives from security, public relations, administration, and the workforce, as well as legal counsel, be involved in such discussions. There will need to be cooperation between local law enforcement and facility security or senior management to enforce the manufacturer's policy.

    Under the new law, the manufacturer may prohibit persons from having a concealed handgun on its property and should take the following steps:

    1. Develop a policy to state the facility's position.

    2. Educate all employees about the policy. Make changes to employee handbooks and medical staff bylaws to reflect this policy as necessary.

    3. Post the required notices to make employees, buyers, suppliers and the public aware of the prohibition.

    4. Work with local law enforcement to identify issues where cooperation may be possible and helpful.

    Manufacturers should realize that, with this new law, it may be more common to encounter persons bringing handguns onto facility property. Many people may be unaware of this prohibition until they arrive at the facility. These issues should be addressed in any policy.

    How should we let licensees know that they cannot carry handguns on our property?

    We suggest that any manufacturer that desires to ban concealed handguns from its premises adopt a policy banning all firearms on the premises. It is not enough, however, for a facility to simply adopt a policy banning all firearms on its property. To properly enforce such a policy, all persons entering the facility must be made aware of this policy.

    Those private manufacturing facilities that decide to ban concealed weapons should also post signs in a conspicuous location the read as follows:

    _______________ PROHIBITS ANY PERSON FROM CARRYING A CONCEALED HANDGUN OR OTHER DEADLY WEAPON ONTO THESE PREMISES. NO PERSON SHALL KNOWINGLY POSSESS, HAVE UNDER THE PERSON'S CONTROL, CONVEY, OR ATTEMPT TO CONVEY A DEADLY WEAPON OR DANGEROUS ORDNANCE ONTO THESE PREMISES.

    We also suggest that facilities post their signs in as many conspicuous locations as possible (such as every entrance) so as to make everyone entering the facility immediately aware that handguns are prohibited on the premises. In addition, all personnel dealing with persons who will eventually enter the facility -- such as buyers and suppliers -- should inform those persons, in advance, that the manufacturer prohibits them from bringing a handgun to the facility and if the person has a license to carry a handgun, the handgun at home should be left at home.

    How should manufacturers tell their employees, buyers and suppliers about this new law and the new policies?

    Many manufacturers already have policies generally prohibiting , buyers and suppliers from bringing firearms into the facility. Because of this new concealed carry law, some people may be of the mistaken belief that if they possess a valid license to carry a concealed handgun they are exempt from the facility's policy. We recommend educating employees, volunteers, buyers and suppliers by having appropriate workforce education and publishing announcements about the policy in employee newsletters, on employee bulletin boards, in employee handbooks, in the facility lounges and other appropriate places in the facility. Manufacturers may wish to consider providing everyone with a copy of the policy and requiring the employees to sign that they have read and understand the policy. While not required under Ohio law, these efforts show that everyone was informed about the policy and could be the basis for proving a knowing violation by an employee, which is an element needed to prove criminal trespass.

    May a manufacturer discipline an employee who has a license to carry a concealed weapon and who carries the gun to work?

    Yes, if the facility has a policy prohibiting possession of weapons on its premises, it can discipline the employee and should follow its disciplinary policy when deciding the level of discipline. If the facility provides examples of specific acts that it considers to be infractions of its disciplinary policy, it should include the prohibition of possessing weapons in that list.

    What should we do if a licensee comes to the facility with a concealed handgun?

    If the manufacturer has banned handguns from its property, licensees should be made aware of the policy through signs and notices. A licensee who brings a concealed handgun to the facility should be instructed to remove the handgun from the facility and may be required to leave the gun in the motor vehicle while in the facility. If a party asks for the employee's assistance to comply with the policy, the employee should notify facility security personnel or senior management. Facility security should attempt an appropriate removal of the handgun from the property by asking the licensee to remove the handgun from the manufacturer's property. Facility security should ensure that the handgun has been removed, but manufacturers should never store a handgun for an employee or visitor.

    If we see someone on our property and believe he or she is carrying a handgun in violation of our policy, what should we do?

    Manufacturing employees and volunteers should be educated to contact facility security personnel or senior management if they believe any person (including a buyer, supplier, visitor or other employee) has violated the manufacturer's policy banning concealed handguns. Security personnel should inform the licensee of the manufacturer's policy and if the licensee refuses to comply with the policy, the manufacturer should contact local law enforcement. It is criminal trespass for a licensee to knowingly have a concealed handgun at a business that has prohibited persons from having concealed handguns on the property.

    What do we do if we find a gun on our property?

    If facility personnel finds a firearm on its property that is not in anyone's possession, security personnel or someone else so designated should immediately secure the firearm and contact local law enforcement to report the matter and turn over the firearm.

    Should our security department develop a system to look up and secure handguns for employees, buyers, suppliers, and other visitors while in the facility?

    Although a manufacturer is not required or prohibited by the new law to provide a place to store handguns for persons who wish to enter the facility, manufacturers should not do so. Employees, buyers, suppliers and visitors should be aware of the manufacturer's policy and should be required to leave the handgun in their motor vehicle while in the facility.

    Can a manufacturing facility ban handguns and other deadly weapons in its parking lots and parking garages?

    Yes, a private employer that owns or leases parking lots or parking garages may ban handguns and other deadly weapons on the facility's parking lots or in the parking garages. Some facilities, however, intend to permit licensees to lock their handguns in their motor vehicle while they are visiting the facility. If the facility decides to ban firearms in the parking lots or parking garages, leaving a handgun locked in the trunk may not be an option for visitors.

    Can a manufacturing facility adopt a policy banning the public from bringing concealed weapons and other deadly weapons into the facility, but permit its own employees to carry concealed handguns?

    Yes, a private facility may prohibit the general public from carrying concealed handguns into the facility, while not prohibiting employees. Alternatively, the facility may adopt a policy forbidding everyone (general public and employees) from carrying a handgun and include a process whereby an employee may request and receive written permission from the facility to carry the handgun. On one hand, this alternate method may seem more burdensome than simply permitting all employees to carry handguns; on the other hand, the facility would know who has written permission to carry a handgun.