Can you Get Into Trouble for Ignoring “No Guns” Signs in Ohio?

With opposition to the Second Amendment becoming increasingly fashionable, you may be seeing more and more “No Guns” signs popping up in the windows of stores you visit. If you see one of these signs you might be wondering to yourself if you should be paying any attention to them.

Could you risk legal problems if you choose to ignore that paper towel taped in the front entrance with “No Guns Allowed” scrawled across it in sharpie?

According to the Ohio state government website, any signs displayed in a conspicuous manner must be  obeyed by an Ohio citizen with a Concealed Handgun License (CHL).

Some states have very specific guidelines detailing how they are to be worded, acceptable sign designs, and placement in order to be within the law. Ohio, however, does not.

The only requirement stated within the law is: the sign must be posted in a conspicuous manner. This means, unfortunately, that paper towel meets the legal requirements if it can be easily seen.

So, what happens if you still “don’t see it?”

Some states also have detailed laws saying the CHL holder in violation of the posted gun ban must first be asked to leave the property if it’s discovered they are carrying a firearm. As long as the armed citizen departs immediately when asked to leave, they face no risk. Ohio though, does not detail this stipulation, only that the CHL holder is in violation.

Violation of what? What are you risking if you are caught?

If you are caught and it’s proved you violated the posting knowingly, you can be charged with criminal trespass, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.

The severity is increased to a first-degree misdemeanor and a charge of aggravated trespass if the CHL holder knowingly ignores a posted sign at A and B type family day care centers.

The Ohio Government Codes site goes on to say:

“If the person previously has been convicted of a violation of this division or of any offense of violence, if the weapon involved is a firearm that is either loaded or for which the offender has ammunition ready at hand, or if the weapon involved is dangerous ordnance, the offender is guilty of a felony of the fourth degree.”

The key here is to vote with your wallet. If that coffee shop you like to hit before work every morning posts a sign saying your gun is unwelcome there, get your cup of Joe somewhere else.

Now for the disclaimer:

I am not, nor do I ever intend to be, a lawyer so this isn’t legal advice. If you have a clarification you feel needs addressing, or if this helped at all, please feel free to leave a comment to let me know.

Read here for a list of businesses unfriendly to the Second Amendment. 

And read here for an article about what places your CHL is also not valid.


  1. Gary Fowler on January 11, 2020 at 6:20 am

    These signs are stupid because they are precisely what would-be shooters look for. If someone with a gun intends to enter a business for the explicit purpose of shooting people, he already knows that everyone in the building is not going to be armed. He already knows that he’s not going to have any resistance at all, and his rampage will begin, until every person is dead.

    If the would-be shooter with the gun enters the building, what’s the sign going to do? Reach out a take the shooter’s gun away from him?

    Take the signs down. Allow the would-be shooters to think that everyone in the building is armed, and he should move on.

    • Joe Richmond on October 5, 2022 at 7:34 pm

      The owner may posses a firearm and you sir would be dead, so you see your arm everybody in the world is not an answer. The sign only states you can’t carry but the owner can DA!!

    • Name on September 23, 2023 at 8:04 pm

      Good point!!

  2. Mike H on November 8, 2020 at 11:39 pm

    Brian, may I ask what your source is for the assertion that ignoring the signs could result in a criminal trespass charge? I’ve been trying to understand the reprecussions of ignoring those signs with little luck. I also find that they tend to reference Ohio revised code 2923.122but I don’t understand that reference as that section deals exclusively with conveyance of firearms on school property.
    Thanks in advance.

    • Matthew Maruster on April 25, 2021 at 5:42 pm

      Hi Mike, sorry for the long delay. I assume you got the answer by now, but the applicable section is ORC 2923.126 (3)(a)

      • Jim Mergner on November 18, 2021 at 8:40 am

        Sorry, but to clarify, it’s actually ORC §2923.126C(3)(a). (It’s easy to ‘get lost’ in the subparagraphs! 😉 )

  3. John on March 15, 2022 at 12:47 am

    With the new conceal carry law passed regarding the need for certification and such not being required to actually conceal carry; how would this change the “powers” of the sign?

    • Matthew Maruster on March 15, 2022 at 11:31 am

      Good question John. As far as SB215 is concerned it doesn’t have any effect on where you can or can’t carry, or the potential punishments associated with it. The big changes are that SB215 removes the requirement to have a permit for concealed carry and changes the wording related to duty to notify law enforcement.

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