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Ohio Concealed Carry Laws

Last Updated: September 3, 2017

Disclaimer:  While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.  

Even though Ohio allows for open carry of a handgun, being able to carry concealed requires a couple more steps, including getting a license.

Luckily, there are only a few things you’ll need to keep in mind to carrying concealed in Ohio.

This guide will go over everything you need to know on how to get a license, and what you can do with it once you get one.

Ohio State Flag
Ohio State Flag

The Good News and the Bad News 

Here’s the good news:  Ohio is a shall-issue state, which means that as long as you fill out the application correctly and meet all the requirements, you will be issued a concealed handgun license (CHL).  

The bad news?  Ohio only issues CCW licenses to Ohio residents.  Sorry.

What’s Required? 

Before heading to your local sheriff’s office to apply for a CHL, there are a couple basic requirements that have to be met.

To qualify for a CHL, you must:

  • Be 21 or older;
  • Be a resident of Ohio for at least 45 days;
  • Be a resident of the county where you are applying for the CHL for at least 30 days; and
  • Provide proof of training that was done during the last 3 years before applying for the CHL.

Train Like You Fight

The training itself has some specific requirements too.  Your best bet is to find an Ohio-specific CCW course taught by an NRA-certified instructor.  Just in case though, you’ll want to double check that the course meets all the of the requirements for an Ohio CHL.

An approved training course must:

  • Last at least 8 hours total;
  • Have a minimum of 2 hours of in-person training that includes range time and live-fire training.

In addition to the time requirements, the course must teach you to:

  • Name, explain, and demonstrate the rules for safe handling of a handgun and proper storage practices for handguns and ammunition;
  • Demonstrate and explain how to handle ammunition in a safe manner;
  • Demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary to shoot a handgun in safe manner; and
  • Safely handle a firearm.

Finally, you will also need to complete a test that shows your competency in all of the required training material.  Stay awake and pay attention!

If You Don’t Think You Need Training…

You might be right!  If you are an active member of the military reserve, armed forces, or were honorably discharged, or are a retired law enforcement officer, as long as you can show proof of your status, you do not have to go through the training like the rest of us civilians!

Ohio CHL
Ohio CHL

Not So Fast!

Even if you meet all those requirements, there are some situations that may still prevent you from being able to get a CHL.  

You will be denied a CHL if you:

  • Have had a concealed carry license issued by another state suspended;
  • Live in another state and aren’t employed in Ohio;
  • Are illegally using or addicted to a controlled substance;
  • Are illegally in the United States;
  • Were dishonorably discharged from the US Armed Forces;
  • Renounced your US citizenship; or
  • Were convicted of, pled guilty to, or were adjudicated a delinquent for committing crime of domestic violence.

In addition to those conditions, any of the conditions that would prevent you from buying or owning a firearm in general would of course also prevent you from getting a CHL, since you shouldn’t even have a handgun in the first place!

If It’s an Emergency

Ohio does issue temporary emergency licenses, if you really need one.  You will need to provide evidence to convince the sheriff you are in imminent danger.  Just because you really really want a CHL is not going to be a good enough reason.

If you can convince the sheriff you need the emergency license, you will be granted one that is good for 90 days.  During that time, you can carry concealed just like you would with a permanent CHL.  You should also use that time to apply for the permanent CHL, so that when your 90 days are up, you’ll be able to keep carrying without any issue.

The waiting game

Once you make sure you meet all the requirements and fill out the application, you will need to wait about 45 days for the sheriff’s office to complete their review of your application, and send out your shiny new CHL in the mail.  

If your application is denied for any reason, you’ll get a letter explaining why you were denied, and how you can fix the problem.  Most of the time, denials are because of missing documents or information.  Make sure to double check you provided everything they asked for!  

If everything goes well, you should eventually have a CHL in your hand, and all you’ll need to do is keep it on you whenever you’re carrying, and to renew it every 5 years!

woman carrying pistol in waistband holster
Just don’t forget to renew that CHL!

Where Do You Think You’re Going?

Even with your CHL, there are still some places that are off limits to your handgun.  

You cannot carry concealed in:

  • A police station, sheriff’s office, highway patrol post, or Ohio BCI property;
  • Correctional institutions or other detention facilities;
  • Airport terminals past screening checkpoints or any restricted areas;
  • Mental care facilities;
  • Courthouses or buildings that contain courtrooms;
  • Universities;
  • Places of worship;
  • Places that serve alcohol for consumption, unless you are not drinking and there is no sign that prohibits concealed carry;
  • Government facilities that are not used as a shelter, restroom, or parking lot;
  • School zones including a school, school property, school activity, or school bus; and
  • Any private business that has a clearly placed sign stating firearms are prohibited.

If you are going to any of these locations, your best bet is to leave the gun in the car, locked away in a car safe hidden out of sight.

Ohio firearms prohibition sign
Sign Prohibiting Firearms in an Ohio Private Business


Aside from being able to carry concealed while in Ohio, your CHL will also allow you to carry concealed in states across the country!

Because there are more states that do recognize an Ohio CHL than states that do not, it is easier to list out the states that don’t.

An Ohio CHL is not recognized by:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington D.C.

For those of you with a CCW permit from your home state, there’s good news!  As long as you have a valid CCW permit, you can carry concealed in Ohio!  Even if you have a CCW permit from a state that does not recognize an Ohio CHL, you’ll still be good to go!

Carry on! 

That’s it!  You’ve got all you need to know about getting an Ohio CHL!  Take a look at our recommendations for concealed holsters if you’re looking to put that new permit to good use, and don’t forget about CCW insurance!

And for those of you who haven’t had a chance to check out our Ohio gun laws section yet, hop on over and take a look!  We’ve got a quick and dirty rundown of all the gun laws you’ll need to know to buy your next firearm and be a responsible gun owner!


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