130th Ohio General Assembly
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(122nd General Assembly)
(Substitute House Bill Number 275)



AN ACT
To amend section 2923.16 of the Revised Code to specify that the offense of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle is not committed when, under specified circumstances, the alleged offender discharges a firearm from, or transports or possesses a firearm in, a motor vehicle on certain real property owned or leased by the alleged offender or a family member.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Ohio:

SECTION 1 .  That section 2923.16 of the Revised Code be amended to read as follows:

Sec. 2923.16.  (A) No person shall knowingly discharge a firearm while in or on a motor vehicle.

(B) No person shall knowingly transport or have a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, in such a manner that the firearm is accessible to the operator or any passenger without leaving the vehicle.

(C) No person shall knowingly transport or have a firearm in a motor vehicle, unless it is unloaded, and is carried in one of the following ways:

(1) In a closed package, box, or case;

(2) In a compartment which that can be reached only by leaving the vehicle;

(3) In plain sight and secured in a rack or holder made for the purpose;

(4) In plain sight with the action open or the weapon stripped, or, if the firearm is of a type on which the action will not stay open or which cannot easily be stripped, in plain sight.

(D)(1) This section does not apply to officers, agents, or employees of this or any other state or the United States, or to law enforcement officers, when authorized to carry or have loaded or accessible firearms in motor vehicles, and acting within the scope of their duties.

(2) Division (A) of this section does not apply to a person if all of the following circumstances apply:

(a) the person discharges a firearm from a motor vehicle at a coyote or groundhog, the discharge is not during the deer gun hunting season as set by the chief of the division of wildlife of the department of natural resources, and the discharge at the coyote or groundhog, but for the OPERATION of this section, is lawful.

(b) the motor vehicle from which the person discharges the firearm is on real property that is located in an unincorporated area of a township and that either is zoned for agriculture or is used for agriculture.

(c) The person owns the real property described in division (D)(2)(b) of this section, is the spouse or a child of another person who owns that real property, is a tenant of another person who owns that real property, or is the spouse or a child of a tenant of another person who owns that real property.

(d) The person does not discharge the firearm in any of the following manners:

(i) While under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or alcohol and a drug of abuse;

(ii) In the direction of a street, highway, or other public or private property used by the public for vehicular traffic or parking;

(iii) At or into an occupied structure that is a permanent or temporary habitation;

(iv) In the commission of any violation of law, including, but not limited to, a felony that includes, as an essential element, purposely or knowingly causing or attempting to cause the death of or physical harm to another and that was committed by discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle.

(3) Divisions (B) and (C) of this section do not apply to a person if all of the following circumstances apply:

(a) At the time of the alleged violation of either of those divisions, the person is the operator of or a passenger in a motor vehicle.

(b) The motor vehicle is on real property that is located in an unincorporated area of a township and that either is zoned for agriculture or is used for agriculture.

(c) The person owns the real property described in division (D)(3)(b) of this section, is the spouse or a child of another person who owns that real property, is a tenant of another person who owns that real property, or is the spouse or a child of a tenant of another person who owns that real property.

(d) The person, prior to arriving at the real property described in division (D)(3)(b) of this section, did not transport or possess a firearm in the motor vehicle in a manner prohibited by division (B) or (C) of this section while the motor vehicle was being operated on a street, highway, or other public or private property used by the public for vehicular traffic or parking.

(E) The affirmative defenses contained in division DIVISIONS (C)(1) and (2) of section 2923.12 of the Revised Code are affirmative defenses to a charge under division (B) or (C) of this section.

(F) Whoever violates this section is guilty of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle. Violation of division (A) or (B) of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree. Violation of division (C) of this section is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

(G) As used in this section,:

(1) "Motor vehicle," "street," and "highway" have the same meanings as in section 4511.01 of the Revised Code.

(2) "Occupied structure" has the same meaning as in section 2909.01 of the Revised Code.

(3) "Agriculture" has the same meaning as in section 519.01 Of the Revised Code.

(4) "Tenant" has the same meaning as in section 1531.01 Of the Revised Code.

(5) "unloaded Unloaded" means, with respect to a firearm employing a percussion cap, flintlock, or other obsolete ignition system, when the weapon is uncapped, or when the priming charge is removed from the pan.

SECTION 2 .  That existing section 2923.16 of the Revised Code is hereby repealed.

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