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Ohio Traffic Stop: Are You Required to Notify Police of Your Gun?

When two people with weapons meet each other for the first time, a reasonable amount of wariness occurs. This wariness is increased when one of those person’s job puts them on the wrong end of a muzzle on a regular basis.

Law enforcement is a tough job that carries with it a significant amount of danger, so it’s reasonable to understand why some states require CHL permit holders to notify police.

In the state of Ohio, a concealed handgun licensee must notify police that they are in possession of both a CHL and a loaded firearm when stopped by officers during a traffic stop or some other law enforcement purpose.

An important detail to this law includes not only the driver and owner of the vehicle, but also the passengers. This means that if you are pulled over on your way to the range with a car full of your concealed carrying friends, you must identify to the officer who has a gun with them.

This is to be done promptly, so you could get into trouble if you fail to mention your loaded pistol until after you get your ticket.

The law additionally details that you are to leave your hands where the officer(s) can see them for the duration of the stop, and you are not allowed to get out of your car, or:

“… knowingly remove, attempt to remove, grasp, or hold the loaded handgun or knowingly have contact with the loaded handgun by touching it with the licensee’s hands or fingers.”

This means don’t be reaching for your gun when the officer is walking up to your window. This can make anyone, and especially officers, twitchy. So just leave your gun in the holster, keep your hands on the steering wheel, and stay in your car unless directed otherwise. These laws apply to being contacted by law enforcement outside a traffic stop as well.

CHL holders who are traveling in a commercial vehicle are also required to notify any motor carrier enforcement unit employee that they are in possession of a loaded handgun.

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.

All information used to write this article was obtained from the Ohio state government site.

Read here for an article by Jacob Paulsen about this topic, and here for an article about the legality of “No Guns” signs.

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