If you're a firearms enthusiast in Ohio, you most likely know the state is a traditional "open carry" state, meaning, if you are licensed to carry a firearm, you may do so openly and in public. There may be certain laws of which you are unaware, however, such as those that pertain to private sales of guns.
What if you're out at a range with some friends, doing a little target shooting, and one of your buddies admires the gun you're using and offers to buy it. Can you sell it to him? The answer is: Maybe.
Was the original purchase of the gun legal?
Before you can legally sell a privately owned firearm, you have to have legally purchased it in the first place. Gun shop owners must possess a Federal Firearms License in order to sell guns. The following are key factors regarding purchasing a gun in Ohio:
- You must be at least 21 years of age to legally purchase a handgun in this state. (This is important to remember if you are selling a gun to another person.)
- You may buy other types of firearms once you reach age 18.
- You cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol when purchasing a firearm at a gun store.
- You may buy a gun (if you meet all other criteria) from a federally licensed gun shop owner or a private seller.
- Depending on the situation, you may be required to undergo a background check before purchasing a firearm.
Although the above list pertains to buying, not selling guns, it is crucial to make sure that any firearm you plan to sell was legally purchased in the first place.
Selling laws vary by state
State laws govern the selling of firearms. These laws are not necessarily the same in one state as another. If you plan to sell a gun, it would be very wise to clarify the laws of the state in which your sale will take place.
You may be aware that many people who oppose private firearms sales claim the process leads to an increase in weapons crimes. In fact, the state of California actually outlawed private gun sales five or so years ago because of a supposed increase of drug-related crimes in that state.
If you are among thousands of others in Ohio who adamantly support Second Amendment rights, you likely already know that private sales account for a very small portion of total gun sales in the nation.
What to do if charged with a federal firearms offense
Knowing Ohio laws pertaining to gun sales and purchases, as well as those issued at the federal level, is always a good idea. However, simply possessing such information may not be enough to help you avoid legal trouble related to firearms sales.
If you are charged with a crime involving the private selling of a gun, you can protect your rights in the following ways:
- By fighting the charges against you
- By understanding that anything you say or do during an investigation or throughout the process of arrest can later be used to incriminate you in court
- By retaining immediate assistance from a skilled defense attorney
- By allowing your attorney to challenge evidence against you if it is determined that your rights were violated when said evidence was gathered
It's impossible to presume what the outcome will be if you choose to fight federal firearms charges in court. Generally speaking, acting alongside experienced and aggressive defense guidance can significantly increase your odds of staying out of jail and avoiding conviction.