What’s the Difference Between Open Carry and Concealed Carry?

open carry vs concealed carry

If you are an Ohio gun owner concerned with your right to bear arms, you may be worried about state gun laws concerning open carry or concealed transportation of your firearm. These concerns are very valid.

While Ohio state law is generally favorable toward gun owners, compliance with the law is very important. The good news is that most people in Ohio are legally allowed to conceal or open carry.

However, there are exceptions, qualifications, and other things you should know. In this blog, our criminal defense attorneys will explain concealed and open-carry laws and how to exercise your rights legally.

What is Open Carry?

Open carry refers to visibly carrying a firearm in public spaces. Some states may allow open carry without a permit, while others may require individuals to obtain a license to openly carry a handgun.

Open carry or “permitless carry” is legal in Ohio. This means you can carry your firearm in public as long as it is legally acquired and not specifically prohibited by state or federal law. While this provides most gun owners with an amply large legal umbrella, it is possible to get caught up in exceptions.

It is always a good idea to perform due diligence regarding open carry laws in specific environments–like state or federal buildings–where rules might be different.

What is Conceal and Carry?

Concealed carry involves individuals carrying a firearm in a manner that is not easily visible to others. This practice typically requires a specific license or permit issued by the state.

In contrast to open carry, where the firearm is visibly displayed, concealed carry allows gun owners to keep their firearms hidden from public view.

Concealed carry is permitted in Ohio and enjoys largely the same legal protections as open carry. We will examine the requirements for legally carrying a gun.

Do You Need a Permit to Carry a Gun in Ohio?

Ohio adopted what advocates call “constitutional carry” laws back in 2022. This essentially means that the state prioritizes a constitutional right to bear arms—largely eliminating restrictions on open carry or concealed carry practices.

As long as you have legally acquired your gun and there are no federal or state restrictions on it, you should be able to carry your weapons in a way that feels most appropriate to you.

If you are concerned about the legal status of a specific weapon, it is a good idea to carefully research any potential restrictions to ensure compliance with state law. Additionally, there are several other rules that you need to be aware of. For example, you cannot bring a firearm everywhere. Schools, government buildings, and other restricted areas can prohibit open carry or concealed carry practices.

Any violent or drug-related convictions on your record may also prohibit your rights to carry or even own a firearm in Ohio.

Will Police Stop People Who Are Openly Carrying?

Police are neither required nor expected to stop people simply because they carry a weapon. Because “constitutional carry” practices have been in effect for some time now, there is little reason to worry that law enforcement will be confused or overly concerned when they see someone publicly exercising their right to bear arms.

Is There a Benefit to Getting a Permit to Conceal Carry?

While Ohio no longer requires a concealed and open carry permit, that doesn’t mean there is no reason to get one. The eight hours of course material can help you safely navigate state laws and expectations concerning firearms carry.

More to the point, however, your permit may be used in other states. If you travel often and want to maximize your legal right to bear arms, getting a permit is advisable.

I Am Permitted to Conceal and Carry/Open Carry. Will That Permit Be Honored Out of State?

If you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon in one state and travel to another, you must check if that other state recognizes your permit. Not all states have the same rules, and some may not accept out-of-state permits.

You should look into the specific agreements between the states you travel to and from. Some states recognize “reciprocal permits.” However, this will only apply to Ohio residents who went through the process to receive a permit. Constitutional carry permissions are not transferable in the same way.

Are you worried about maintaining compliance? It’s important to exercise your right to carry in a way that reflects local law. Penalties for firearm violations can be severe. If you have questions about how and where your Ohio carry permit will work/or are experiencing any other concerns about your right to bear arms, contact The Botnick Law Firm.

Author Bio

Botnick Law Firm

Robert Botnick is CEO and Managing Partner of Botnick Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm in Cleveland, OH. With more than 19 years of experience in criminal defense, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Robert received his Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University and is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including the Best DUI Lawyers in Cleveland award by

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