Q: While driving on a public road, THROUGH a school zone, is is illegal to have a loaded firearm on your person in Ohio?
With the passing of Ohio's Constitutional Carry law, as of July 13, 2022 Ohio citizens without a CCW permit can legally carry a loaded firearm on their person while in their vehicle, but not in a school zone. If you live near or drive through a school zone on a public road (where you must slow down), but you are not pulling into the school zone (i.e. not on school grounds) is it illegal to drive through said school zone with your loaded firearm on your person or in your vehicle? For example, you are driving to work or home and you pass through a school zone. Or, if you live very close to a school zone and pull out of your drive way. Do you in theory have to unload your gun, lock it in a case, drive away from the school zone, and then stop, unlock and reload your firearm to be in compliance? For example, if you drive through Milan Ohio there is a school on the main road. In Norwalk, there are homes right next to a school. How does Constitutional Carry apply in these scenarios?
Ohio law prohibits carrying a firearm in a school safety zone, which includes the area within 1,000 feet of the school grounds. This applies to both open and concealed carry, regardless of whether you have a CCW permit or not.
Therefore, if you are driving through a school safety zone, you cannot legally have a loaded firearm on your person or in your vehicle. You would need to unload the firearm, place it in a locked container, and ensure it is not easily accessible while in the school safety zone.
It is important to note that the law defines school safety zones broadly, and includes any area within 1,000 feet of the school grounds. This means that even if you are just driving by a school on a public road, you are still in a school safety zone and cannot have a loaded firearm.
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