Hilliard, Ohio – For one man, what started as a night of cheering, ended in police issuing a felony warrant for a gun crime.
Last Saturday night, a state wrestling match at Davidson High School in Hilliard, Ohio, drew a large crowd. Some kids won, others lost, and everyone went home to resume their lives. But, days later, a man who attended the match found himself the subject of a felony warrant.
Warrant Issued by Hilliard Police Department —
Hours after the wrestling match, a school official contacted Hilliard Police Department (HPD). The unnamed person notified HPD that they had become aware of a photo taken during the wrestling match.
The picture (included below) shows a man cheering with hands raised over his head, exposing what looks like a gun in the front of his waistband.
Police later identified the man as a 37-year-old Johnstown, Ohio resident called Dylan and issued a warrant for his arrest for the charge of:
Ohio Code 2923.122 – Illegal conveyance or possession of deadly weapon or dangerous ordnance or of object indistinguishable from firearm in school safety zone.
The crime is a fourth-degree felony and is punishable by a definite prison term of six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, or 12 months; a fine of up to $2,500; or both.
Dylan is not in custody at the time of this post.
First, there is a big difference between Ohio law regarding bringing a gun onto a private property business and a school “safety zone.” The first is a misdemeanor, the latter a felony. Furthermore, as we can see, you’re not likely to receive grace for violating any school “safety zone” gun laws.
Know the law –
You need to know the gun law in your state. And be aware that gun law changes from time to time. That is why I highly suggest our resource called the Legal Boundaries by State. It covers the gun laws of every state and DC. It also contains information on traveling and guns on planes. We update the digital version in real-time when a law becomes active and the physical book regularly.
Learn more about the Legal Boundaries by State
I won’t advocate anyone violating the law. However, we all weigh the pros and cons of violating any given law. For example, if you willfully break the speed limit, you accept that being late is worse than the consequences for speeding.
This would be a tough way to learn the law if Dylan didn’t already know he couldn’t carry in a school.
You’re on camera –
Secondly, we do live in a surveillance state. In 2018, FOX31 reported that the average American gets caught on camera on average 70 times per day. I couldn’t find the data behind their numbers, but a 2021 report from Reolink in England estimated Londoners appear on video 300 times a day.
We don’t know the exact number, but it is safe to say we’re on camera or photos a lot! So we have to be aware, especially if you carry a gun in a non-permissive environment.
Clothing and carry positions –
Consider your clothing choices and if particular movements expose your gun.
In this incident, the man is carrying inside the waistband, in the 12’oclock or appendix position. However, your gun can become exposed in any carry position, especially if you carry small of the back.
This video shows a man assaulting and disarming a woman inside a gas station store. She was carrying in the small of her back, and the suspect observed her gun. I believe she wasn’t open carrying; instead, the gun became visible because of her clothing.
Consider the law’s purpose –
We often argue the ineffectiveness of these “gun-free zone” laws by pointing out that criminals don’t follow the law, so these laws don’t make anyone safer. But, if the law doesn’t make anyone safer, what is the point?
These punitive laws do not prevent crime; they only punish people after the fact.
We don’t know if Dylan possessed a valid Ohio Concealed Handgun Licence or not. But, assuming he did and is found guilty, he will likely lose his license and the ability to get one in the future. That is pretty harsh, considering he didn’t harm or endanger anyone.
Someone may argue Dylan endangered people because he “could have” done something like leave his gun in the bathroom, and that could harm people. We need to be very careful in punishing people for something that “could happen.”
Furthermore, if merely possessing a firearm secured in a holster is sufficient to endanger people, why are there any exemptions for police or anyone else?
I’m not going to criticize the man in the story. Everyone is responsible for their own actions.
I’m also not going to join the chorus of “he makes all concealed carriers look bad.” I say this because I believe “gun-free” laws like these are pointless and only harm otherwise law-abiding citizens. If I say that, I can’t then turn around and criticize a man for carrying in a “gun-free” zone.
At worse, he had an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction at an inopportune time. I hope he gets good representation, and he can plea out to a lesser crime that won’t affect his future ability to possess a firearm legally.
What do you think? Does arresting this man make people safer?