§ 96.45  FIREARMS OFFENSES; SIGNALING DEVICES.
   (A)   As used in this section:
      ACTIVE DUTY, CONCEALED HANDGUN LICENSE, FIREARM, HANDGUN, and VALID CON- CEALED HANDGUN LICENSE. Have the same meanings as in R.C. § 2923.11.
      UNLOADED. Has the same meaning meanings as in R.C. § 2923.16(K)(5) and (K)(6), except that all references in the definition in R.C. § 2923.16(K)(5) to “vehicle” shall be construed for purposes of this section to be references to “vessel”.
   (B)   No person shall knowingly discharge a firearm while in or on a vessel.
   (C)   No person shall knowingly transport or have a loaded firearm in a vessel in a manner that the firearm is accessible to the operator or any passenger.
   (D)   No person shall knowingly transport or have a firearm in a vessel unless it is unloaded and is carried in one of the following ways:
      (1)   In a closed package, box, or case;
      (2)   In plain sight with the action opened or the weapon stripped, or, if the firearm is of a type on which the action will not stay open or that cannot easily be stripped, in plain sight.
   (E)   (1)   The affirmative defenses authorized in R.C. § 2923.12(D)(1) and (D)(2) are affirmative defenses to a charge under division (C) or (D) of this section that involves a firearm other than a handgun. It is an affirmative defense to a charge under division (C) or (D) of this section of transporting or having a firearm of any type, including a handgun, in a vessel that the actor transported or had the firearm in the vessel for any lawful purpose and while the vessel was on the actor’s own property, provided that this affirmative defense is not available unless the actor, prior to arriving at the vessel on the actor’s own property, did not transport or possess the firearm in the vessel or in a motor vehicle in a manner prohibited by this section or R.C. § 2923.16(B) or (C) while the vessel was being operated on a waterway that was not on the actor’s own property or while the motor vehicle was being operated on a street, highway, or other public or private property used by the public for vehicular traffic.
      (2)   No person who is charged with a violation of division (C) or (D) of this section shall be required to obtain a license or temporary emergency license to carry a concealed handgun under R.C. § 2923.125 or 2923.1213 as a condition for the dismissal of the charge.
   (F)   Divisions (B), (C), and (D) of this section do not apply to the possession or discharge of a United States Coast Guard approved signaling device required to be carried aboard a vessel under R.C. § 1547.251 when the signaling device is possessed or used for the purpose of giving a visual distress signal. No person shall knowingly transport or possess any signaling device of that nature in or on a vessel in a loaded condition at any time other than immediately prior to the discharge of the signaling device for the purpose of giving a visual distress signal.
   (G)   No person shall operate or permit to be operated any vessel on the waters in this municipality in violation of this section.
   (H)   (1)   This section does not apply to officers any of the following:
         (a)   An officer, agent, or employee of this or any other state or of the United States, or to a law enforcement officer, when authorized to carry or have loaded or accessible firearms in a vessel and acting within the scope of the officer’s, agent’s, or employee’s duties;
         (b)   Any person who is employed in this state, who is authorized to carry or have loaded or accessible firearms in a vessel, and who is subject to and in compliance with the requirements of R.C. § 109.801, unless the appointing authority of the person has expressly specified that the exemption provided in this division (H)(1)(b) does not apply to the person;
         (c)   Any person legally engaged in hunting.
      (2)   Divisions (C) and (D) of this section do not apply to a person who transports or possesses a handgun in a vessel and who, at the time of that transportation or possession, either is carrying a valid concealed handgun license or is an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States and is carrying a valid military identification card and documentation of successful completion of firearms training that meets or exceeds the training requirements described in R.C. § 2923.125(G)(1), unless the person knowingly is in a place on the vessel described in R.C. § 2923.126(B).
   (I)   If a law enforcement officer stops a vessel for a violation of this section or any other law enforcement purpose, if any person on the vessel surrenders a firearm to the officer, either voluntarily or pursuant to a request or demand of the officer, and if the officer does not charge the person with a violation of this section or arrest the person for any offense, the person is not otherwise prohibited by law from possessing the firearm, and the firearm is not contraband, the officer shall return the firearm to the person at the termination of the stop.
   (J)   The provisions of R.C. § 2923.16(L) applies with respect to division (A)(2) of this section, except that all references in R.C. § 2923.16(L) to “vehicle”, to “this chapter”, or to “division (K)(5)(a) or (b) of this section” shall be construed for purposes of this section to be, respectively, references to “vessel”, to “this section”, and to R.C. § 2923.16(K)(5)(a) and (K)(5)(b) as incorporated under the definition of “firearm” adopted under division (A) of this section.
(R.C. § 1547.69) (Rev. 2018)
   (K)   Whoever violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
(R.C. § 1547.99(F)) (Rev. 2002)