Concealed Carry In Grey Areas in Ohio

Discussion in 'Gun-Control Issues' started by matthew.s, May 28, 2012.

  1. matthew.s

    matthew.s Glock Miscreant

    Legal question time...The State of Ohio requires property owners to put a specific type of sign at all the entrances to their property, but what I notice with certain places (open air markets, shopping centers, malls) is that they don't have a sign plastered right to the front door like a gun owner is supposed to notice and obey, but if you take a quick glance at their "Rules of Conduct" poster (if they have one), you might see something like "deadly weapons are a prohibited item on this premises, including firearms". They may or may not have the same poster at every entrance tho their property. Now at this point, is concealed carry inside the property still allowable because the property does not prohibit it in the way that they are supposed to by the state, and the property is in the wrong, or because you notice it on the "Rules of Conduct", you cannot feign ignorance of the rules? The side of me that is a Law Enforcement Major says not to push their ignorance of the law, but the gun owner side wants to exploit their ignorance of the law. What is the opinion of the group?

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  3. Hef

    Hef Stop Obammunism

    Not sure on OH law, but in SC if the signage does not comply with specific statutory requirements, it is legally unenforceable. You may be trespassed, but you haven't broken the law in ignoring the "no guns" sign. What do OH statutes say?

  4. Jerry

    Staff Member Moderator Millennium Member

    I'm not familiar with your law so I'll comment on Louisiana law and give my "opinion". Concealed means concealed so if they don't know I have it they can't complain. If I need it I'd rather have it then die or have a family member hurt or dead.

    Accordion to Louisiana law if I'm found to be carrying where a business owner doesn't want me to I can be asked to leave. If I "refuse" to leave than I can be arrested and charged with trespassing. IF I REFUSE TO LEAVE!

    One of the medical buildings go in to see a Dr. doesn't have any signs. Anther medical building owned by the same hospital where I go to see another Dr. has a sign. I ignore it! If I'm ever told I can't come in I won't go in. If I'm asked to leave I will. As I stated at the beginning, concealed means concealed. I doubt I'll ever have to worry about being asked to leave.
    #5 Jerry, May 29, 2012
    Last edited: May 29, 2012
  5. Ohio doesn't require "a specific type of sign." There are no requirements other than that there is a sign that prohibits weapons, or concealed carry. The sign could be verbal, pictorial, could use any sort of language. It's not specified.

    Thus, it's not a really a "grey area." If you can tell it's posted, then it's prohibited and the prohibition carries the force of law.
  6. Jerry

    Staff Member Moderator Millennium Member

    Sounds like Ohio law sucks. Wife went to visit someone in Ohio a few years back. Said she couldn't wait to get the hell out. :rofl:
    #7 Jerry, May 31, 2012
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  7. That aspect of the law sure does. Ohio's CCW laws have improved greatly since they were first implemented. When they first came out, they were utterly loaded with "gotcha" provisions (my term for a provision that turns a harmless action or an innocent oversight into a crime), and concessions to anti-gunners. Since then, they've cleaned up the car carry provisions a ton, allowed carrying in bars and restaurants as long as you're not drinking, and the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that state CCW laws preempt local ordinances, as well as a few other minor issues (rest stops, etc.).

    The notification requirement (burden is on the CCW holder to "promptly" notify an LEO he is carrying in any LEO encounter, or guilty of misdemeanor), criminalization of carry in government buildings and hospitals, and the instant criminalization of carrying on posted private property (you're guilty of a misdemeanor, again -- some states just require you to leave if asked), are the last really troublesome provisions.

    As for the state as a whole, I lived in NJ before Ohio, so I suppose anything seems good after that socialist anti-gun hellhole. I really love Ohio. I find it a generally friendly place with a lot of beautiful country. You've got your good and bad in the cities, just like everyplace, but Columbus is one of the niceest cities to live in and visit that you could ask for.
    #8 cloudbuster, May 31, 2012
    Last edited: May 31, 2012
  8. Ohio's gun laws have words and phrases like "promptly" and "conspicuous place" that aren't defined in the statute (or anywhere else in state law) and you have to be prudent and assume that they will be interpreted in the way that is most unfavorable to you.
  9. matthew.s

    matthew.s Glock Miscreant

    So if the phrase "Conspicuous Place" is not defined, would you consider a small typeface phrase buried in the middle of a poster of regulations that are not posted on all entrance ways a situation that works against you since it's so vague? If that is the case, then how can you enforce something so vague? As far as I am aware, there is no law which requires you from reading those posters in order to gain entrance to the place that posts them, unlike the decals which cite the exact legislation that the property owner is relying on, so how can you be aware of the regulations in the first place if they do exist? Why bother with something so stupid and unenforceable?
  10. Excellent questions, and I encourage you to direct them to the Ohio state legislature, as they have repeatedly forgotten to consult me about these issues!

    ETA: As a practical matter, I advise you to simply keep your eyes open, and if you see a sign or notice in any format, to respect it. The game here isn't to try to stretch the law as far as possible "Oh, that notice isn't conspicuous, so it doesn't count." The game here is to be the mature guy who does the right thing: if you see they don't want you carrying, respect that and go along with it or avoid the place. Don't try to be a "rules lawyer."

    If you didn't see the sign, oh well. I've missed a couple myself. The truth is, unless you're really clumsy about it, nobody's likely to even notice you're carrying. It's only a big issue if you have a confluence of bad events: you didn't notice the sign and someone noticed you carrying and that someone thought to call the police and the police responded promptly enough to actually encounter you, etc.

    I avoid places I know prohibit carry, and I'm pretty nonchalant about my carry in places where it is permitted. A couple weeks ago I bent over at the veterinarian to lift my dog. My shirt rode up while I was lifting and exposed my pistol to about four people behind me, and nobody said a word. Then again, it's a rural farm vet and pretty much everyone has guns out here.
    #11 cloudbuster, Jun 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  11. cowboywannabe

    cowboywannabe you savvy?

    my fellow buckeyes need to keep on the dolts in columbus to get more ccw freedoms.

    your guys did a great job with open carry marches, then getting the stupid restrictions on ccw car carry dropped.....keep it up, the idiots in columbus are asleep at the wheel.
  12. Jerry

    Staff Member Moderator Millennium Member

    ABSOLUTELY!!! I've found that the "anti gun" LEOs and DA's will use anything they can any way they can against everyone they can. Don't mistake my comment to mean all LEOs, just the JBT types. Doesn't sound like you fit in that category. :)

    You stated in your original post, "ignorance of the law is no excuse". Many times laws are written vaguely in a effort to satisfy both sides when it rarely satisfies either. Most of the time all it does is cause normally law-abiding and honorable citizens grief.

    Being vague, YOU must make your own decision as to what is right and honorable. It gives those that want a tool to use against anyone and everyone something to use. They are the one's you need to ask how they can do it. It easy to do just not right.
    #13 Jerry, Jun 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2012
  13. matthew.s

    matthew.s Glock Miscreant

    Is there a law that says you have to look at those "Rules of Conduct" signs every time you step into an establishment that has one, because it seems that if you are under no obligation to look at the sign in the first place, and you don't see where they buried the "No Deadly Weapons of any kind" provision, then in that case, are you not at fault for not being aware of the policy of the property owners? Ignorance of the law is certainly not an excuse, especially after you looked at the sign the second go around, but if you go into a new place, and you don't glace at the small print on the inconspicuous sign, are you at fault for having not looked at the rules of the establishment? I do my best to remain inconspicuous when I am carrying in public, and I know NEVER to reveal that fact to anyone, so I'm not worried about tipping someone off.

    As a rule I try to as well, but unfortunately most of my favorite places that I go (like Old Carolina BBQ Company), sneak the sign up on me after a period where they didn't have one. I only speak of shopping centers in this case simply as a matter of it being a convenient place to go for items I get my mother and my sisters on special occasions, I never buy anything in a mall for myself unless I'm in a food court. The places I go to the most unfortunately and have to disarm are the Libraries I visit, where I work, and where I go to College. I stopped going to a friend's coffee shop because it was inside a Medical Center (no weapons of any kind), which was a downer, but oh well.
  14. You keep asking for determinations like there's a hard and fast answer. What you have to keep in mind is that the law is administered by individuals. Human, imperfect, biased individuals. There is great latitude in how these things are determined. You're very much at the mercy of the individual decisions of police, prosecutors, judges and jury. Unless you have very deep pockets, it probably won't be feasible for you to appeal a decision you don't like, and you're unlikely to be successful if you do, unless the prosecutor or judge committed a grievous procedural error, or something of similar severity.

    You DON'T want to get in the situation where you have to defend your actions before a court, because so much is out of your hands at that point. It doesn't really matter what the absolute perfect, technical determination of your behavior is -- people you don't know and who don't really care about you will make the determination, and their own biases and predispositions and whether they got up on the wrong side of the bed that morning will figure into their decisions, and you'll have to live with it.

    You can swear up and down that you didn't see the sign, and argue the the sign wasn't at all conspicuous, but if the officer on the scene is unforgiving, the prosecutor is out to get you, the judge is unsympathetic and the jury isn't convinced you're telling the truth, or believes the arresting officer and business owner over you (and they have great credibility), it might not matter. I'm just saying worst case scenario, here, but when you're putting your fate in the hands of strangers, that's what you have to expect.

    ETA: I'd say the prosecutor is going to argue that you've been granted a great privilege by being given a concealed carry permit. You've taken Ohio-approved CCW training, and you should be held to a high standard of behavior regarding being aware and conscientious about the places you are and are not allowed to carry. He'll say you should be presumed to know to check for a notice before you enter a business and that you not seeing the notice represents negligence on your part, not the business owner's for not making the sign "big enough" for you. What? You want it in 10 foot flashing lights? That's the attitude you should expect to get from the prosecutor.

    And, if the business owner says "The sign is plenty big enough, it's easy to see!" and if the arresting officer says "I could see the sign just fine," you are royally screwed. Even if it wasn't easy to see. The business owner doesn't like CCW in the first place, so he's not going to be a friendly witness, and some police don't like CCWs, or just have pretty rigid views about the rules, and their testimony will carry a ton of weight at the trial.
    #15 cloudbuster, Jun 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  15. Jerry

    Staff Member Moderator Millennium Member

    Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the law say you cannot carry where a sign is posted? In that case the obligation of reading/knowing falls on the CCW holder. Didn't see the sign is no excuse. Ignorance is no excuse. Do you or I have to like it? NO! But that's the way it is.
    #16 Jerry, Jun 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  16. matthew.s

    matthew.s Glock Miscreant

    Very fair point, I don't have the solo activist aspirations that many of my colleagues in the gun rights camp do, what I find is that one man is hopelessly (forgive the expression) outgunned and running up Pork Chop Hill, it doesn't matter if I'm doing something legal or not. I do my part by introducing people to firearms and to concealed carry, for which I can say I've steered 3 or 4 people into classes to get their licences. I ask the questions so that maybe someone with more aspirations can try to get this changed and make it easier for the rest of us to do what it is we have to do to keep ourselves secure. I had enough poor experiences with politics 12 years ago when State Senator Eric Fingerhut and his cronies couldn't even help a 4th grader (me) and his classmates try to make red the official state color of Ohio, a simple thing and yet even that was fraught with politics that made no sense, even now.
    #17 matthew.s, Jun 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012

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