The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution provides all citizens the right to bear arms. However, despite the language of the Second Amendment, the state and federal governments can impose strict limits on gun rights.
Additionally, the constitutional rights of minors are not always coextensive with those of adults. The result is that if you are under age, buying a gun in Ohio is against the law.
Not only that but attempting to buy a gun can get minors in legal trouble. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help those charged with weapons offenses understand what they face and how to best defend against the allegations.
How Old Do You Have to Be to Buy a Gun in Ohio
Under Ohio gun purchasing laws, it is illegal for minors to purchase or attempt to purchase any type of firearm. Section 2923.211 of the Ohio Revised Code clearly states that “No person under eighteen years of age shall purchase or attempt to purchase a firearm.”
Additionally, no person under the age of 21 can purchase or attempt to purchase a handgun unless they meet one of two exceptions:
- The person is at least 18 years old, is a police officer, and completed firearms training approved by the Ohio peace officer training council or equivalent firearms training; or
- The person is at least 18 years old, is an active or reserve member of the U.S. military or Ohio National Guard, and completed the appropriate firearms training.
Thus, in no event is a minor under the age of 18 allowed to purchase a gun. And you cannot purchase a handgun if you are under 21 years old unless you are a police officer, in the military, or in the Ohio National Guard.
While some states draw a distinction between hunting rifles, shotguns, and pistols, Ohio does not. For the purposes of Ohio’s gun laws, all these weapons are “firearms.” Additionally, the law makes no distinction between “purchasing” and “attempting to purchase” a firearm.
Punishments for Minors Caught Buying a Gun Illegally
If police officers arrest you as a minor for attempting to buy a gun illegally, you face serious consequences. In most cases, crimes committed by minors are not heard in adult court. However, that does not mean that a minor who attempts to purchase a gun won’t get in legal trouble.
Section 2923.211 provides that anyone under the age of 18 who purchases or attempts to purchase a firearm commits a delinquent act equivalent to a fourth-degree felony.
In these cases, the range of punishment can vary significantly. This is because, in some situations, a minor may face charges in adult court if an offense involves the use of a firearm—for example, if a minor used an illegally purchased gun to commit another crime.
However, in most cases, a minor who attempts to purchase a firearm will stay in the juvenile justice system.
Anyone over the age of 18 but under 21 who purchases or attempts to purchase a firearm is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree. Misdemeanors of the second degree carry a punishment of up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $750.
Penalties for Adults Who Purchase Firearms for Minors
Ohio law also makes it a crime to sell or “furnish” a firearm to anyone who is underage. This includes a parent who allows a child to use a gun for anything other than “lawful hunting, sporting, or educational purposes.”
So parents can take their minor children hunting and teach them about firearm safety without running afoul of the law. However, if a parent allows unsupervised use, they may subject themselves to criminal liability.
Under Ohio Revised Code Section 2923.21, violating this law will result in a conviction for a felony of the fifth degree. Fifth-degree felonies carry a punishment of up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
Were You Arrested for an Ohio Gun Charge?
If you were arrested for an Ohio firearm offense, contact the dedicated criminal defense attorneys at Gounaris Abboud, LPA. At Gounaris Abboud, we represent clients facing all types of Ohio weapons charges, including minors who purchased a gun illegally.
We have more than 50 years of combined experience helping clients navigate the complex and stressful criminal trial process. We always keep a laser focus on defending their rights and securing the best result possible. We believe in developing lasting relationships with each of our clients.
Thus, we take the time to get to know you, your situation, and your goals before recommending any course of action. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Ohio gun crime defense lawyers, give us a call today. You can also reach out to us through our online contact form.