Some things in this article may be out of date as of June 13, 2022 when SB 215 went into effect in Ohio. We are working to figure how that impacts handling firearms in a motor vehicle.
Most gun owners are conscientious about following the rules for transporting a weapon, and have nothing to fear if pulled over by a police officer, as long as they are not in violation of any other laws. But what do you need to know about traffic stops while you are transporting firearms?
Always Disclose that You are Carrying a Firearm
First of all, if you are pulled over, you must be honest and upfront with the officer about the presence of any firearm in your vehicle.
If you have a concealed carry permit and are carrying a loaded gun, you must disclose that you have a gun on your person or in your vehicle as soon as the officer asks.
Always keep your hands in sight of the officer, and follow all officer’s instructions.
Do not reach for your gun or touch your gun unless the officer asks you to.
Vehicle Searches at Traffic Stops
An officer cannot search your vehicle without probable cause. That is, an officer must have a good reason to believe that illegal activity is afoot before conducting a search of your vehicle.
The presence of a weapon in the vehicle, as long as it is disclosed and transported appropriately, is not a violation of the law. Having a gun in your vehicle does not by itself give an officer probable cause to search your vehicle. However, simply failing to reveal that you have a gun could result in serious charges if the officer finds another reason to search your car and later discovers it, even if you committed no other offense.
For more on violations of firearms handling in a motor vehicle, se our related article:Improper Handling of a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle
What are some things that may give an officer probable cause to search your vehicle?
Illegal drugs or other contraband in plain sight.
Evidence of criminal activity.
A drug K-9 detects the presence of illegal substances.
You give your consent for a vehicle search.
OVI and Firearms Possession
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs while in possession of a gun could also result in charges of OVI and Possession of a Weapon While Intoxicated. Read our article for more information about how an OVI can affect your gun rights.
Call Us For Traffic Violations Involving Firearms
If you been involved in a traffic stop and your gun rights are now being restricted, give our attorneys a call. Or contact us for a complimentary strategy session on how we can help protect your rights. Our lawyers’ skills and experience will help you navigate the legal process and help you understand any charges against you. Our lawyers are familiar with the local Courts and can help you understand the strength of your case, and the likelihood of a favorable outcome in Court. During your first visit or phone call, we can do an initial assessment of your case, and give you a good idea of your personalized defense strategy, including how much our services will cost. Give us a call, any time day or night.