Ohio Concealed Handgun License Training

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Training Requirements To Obtain A Concealed Handgun License In Ohio

Since the inception of concealed carry in the State of Ohio there has been a statutory training mandate that consists of twelve hours of training, two of which must be in the form of live fire training on a gun range. There is pending legislation to relax the number of hours necessary for the initial training certification in the legislature at the time this page was last updated. (9/17/2014). When you apply to the Sheriff you must provide "an original or photocopy of a certificate of completion of a firearms safety, training, or re-qualification or firearms safety instructor course, class, or program..."

If a course is offered under the auspices of the National Rifle Association it simply must meet the requirements listed in the next section.

If the course is not offered under the auspices of the National Rifle Association it must:

  • Be open to members of the general public (no closed or private classes)
  • Utilize qualified instructors certified by the NRA or the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission (OPOTC) or a "government official or entity of another state"
  • Be offered under the auspices of a law enforcement agency, a public or private college, university, or other similar post secondary educational institution, a firearms training school, or another type of public or private entity or organization

There are certain cases where the training obligation is waived. This applies to police officers, active or reserve members of the armed forces and retired/honorably discharged members with proper DD-214 paperwork. If you fall into one of these categories you should ensure that you fully understand the firearms laws of the State of Ohio.

What the law says about training topics that must be covered

Every course must provide you the web site address to the pamphlet on concealed carry prepared by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission. That PDF document can be found here

Any course you take must include:

  • At least ten hours of training on the following matters
    • The ability to name, explain, and demonstrate the rules for safe handling of a handgun and proper storage practices for handguns and ammunition;
    • The ability to demonstrate and explain how to handle ammunition in a safe manner;
    • The ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to shoot a handgun in a safe manner;
    • Gun handling training.
  • At least two hours of training that consists of range time and live-fire training
  • A competency examination that must be passed and includes both of the following:
    • A written section on the ability to name and explain the rules for the safe handling of a handgun and proper storage practices for handguns and ammunition
    • A physical demonstration of competence in the use of a handgun and in the rules for safe handling and storage of a handgun and a physical demonstration of the attitude necessary to shoot a handgun in a safe manner.

These rules and the time frames are spelled out in Ohio Revised Code 2923.125

Beware of out of state training

It is frequently asked if out-of-state NRA training would qualify a student to apply for an Ohio Concealed Handgun License. Although nothing in Ohio Revised Code appears to suggest your training must take place within the State of Ohio and even recognizes "government officials or entities of another state" in most cases the answer is no due to course content and duration:

  • Many times the applicant completed their training in excess of three years ago.
  • Many courses outside Ohio don't provide a two-hour live fire portion or their classroom was less than ten hours.
  • Many courses outside Ohio may not have been adapted to require physical demonstration of competence as required (see above).
  • Many courses outside of Ohio may not be willing to state that their course met the requirements of Ohio Revised Code even if they do
  • The likelihood of an out-of-state course complying with the state law that they tell their students how to find the Ohio Attorney General's handbook on Concealed Carry is very unlikely unless you ask them to do so:

"(1) Each course, class, or program described in division (B)(3)(a), (b), (c), or (e) of this section shall provide to each person who takes the course, class, or program the web site address at which the pamphlet prepared by the Ohio peace officer training commission pursuant to section 109.731 of the Revised Code that reviews firearms, dispute resolution, and use of deadly force matters may be found." source: 2923.125(G)(1)

Beware of rogue training

If you took a training class that was not twelve hours in length and did not include a minimum of two hours of live fire shooting of a firearm on a gun range be warned that your instructor may have committed a felony for each student issued a certificate of competency. Students who have been issued certificates that did not meet the requirements of class and range duration, or in which the instructor did not use real firearms, have had their licenses revoked by the issuing Sheriff. Instructors have been charged with 80+ felony counts for this type of behavior and their students either knowingly or unknowingly became victims of trying to shortcut the process. If you believe, after obtaining your concealed handgun license, that your training was not adequate you may want to contact an attorney and/or the issuing Sheriff's office. Instructors who are not complying with the law make us look bad and should be reported to the Sheriff. If you don't feel comfortable doing that contact Ohioans For Concealed Carry and we will relay concerns about any instructor to the appropriate Sheriff for investigation.

Beware of instructors making up the law

The unfortunate reality is that Ohio's firearms laws are both complex and somewhat fluid. Over the past 15 years there have been numerous modifications and substantial litigation and case law that has changed the state of affairs in Ohio. If your instructor did not explain the law to you in a manner that makes you feel confident that you understand what you can and can not do you must take it upon yourself to learn the truth. This website and wiki aims to be an excellent resource for that purpose. If you have a question we do not answer on this wiki please contact us so that we can address that topic.

Some examples of instructors teaching their opinions, as opposed to the actual law, that we have heard include:

  • FALSE: You "must" conceal your firearm at all times FACT: This is not true as Ohio has no regulations on Ohio Open Carry even if you obtain a Concealed Handgun License.
  • FALSE: You can't have a child in your vehicle when carrying (This was in an original concealed carry bill in 2002 and was never passed into law)
  • FALSE: You can't have any medication at all in your system including aspirin.' This isn't substantiated in Ohio Revised Code, but being under the influence or alcohol or any drug of abuse IS: See 2923.15 Using weapons while intoxicated
  • FALSE: You can't carry a firearm into any bank. FACT: Banks used by the general public are no different than any other business and are only prohibited if they've posted a "No Guns" sign.
  • FALSE: You must carry in a holster. FACT: While holsters offer stability and trigger guard protection nothing prohibits you from carrying your firearm outside of a holster.
  • FALSE: You can't carry in an establishment with the "You may be a felon..." FACT: Ohio Liquor laws have required a sign in any establishment selling beer or liquor for decades, including grocery stores and gas stations. This sign alone is NOT a prohibition.
  • FALSE: You must always tell the police you have a concealed handgun license. FACT: You are only required to notify when you are actually armed and when the encounter is of a law enforcement nature or "stop". See 2923.12(B)(1)

Take it upon yourself to learn Ohio's firearms laws and fully understand them. When you see people spreading false information on social media refer them to the proper pages on this wiki.

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