571.04  IMPROPERLY HANDLING FIREARMS IN A MOTOR VEHICLE.
   (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  the person may lawfully possess that firearm under applicable law of this state or the United States, the firearm is unloaded, and the firearm is carried in one of the following ways:
      (1)   In a closed package, box or case.
      (2)   In a compartment 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)   If the firearm is at least 24 inches in overall length as measured from the muzzle to the part of the stock furthest from the muzzle and if the barrel is at least 18 inches in length, either 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)   No person shall knowingly transport or have a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle if, at the time of that transportation or possession, any of the following applies:
      (1)   The person is under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or a combination of them.
      (2)   The person’s whole blood, blood serum or plasma, breath, or urine contains a concentration of alcohol, a listed controlled substance, or a listed metabolite of a controlled substance prohibited for persons operating a vehicle, as specified in Ohio R.C. 4511.19(A), regardless of whether the person at the time of the transportation or possession as described in this division is the operator of or a passenger in the motor vehicle.
   (e)   No person who has been issued a license or temporary emergency license to carry a concealed handgun under Ohio R.C. 2923.125 or 2923.1213 shall do any of the following:
      (1)   Knowingly transport or have a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle unless one of the following applies:
         A.   The loaded handgun is in a holster on the person’s person.
         B.   The loaded handgun is in a closed case, bag, box or other container that is in plain sight and that has a lid, a cover or a closing mechanism with a zipper, snap or buckle, which lid, cover or closing mechanism must be opened for a person to gain access to the handgun.
         C.   The loaded handgun is securely encased by being stored in a closed glove compartment or vehicle console or in a case that is locked.
      (2)   If the person is transporting or has a loaded handgun in a motor vehicle in a manner authorized under division (e)(1) of this section, knowingly remove or attempt to remove the loaded handgun from the holster, case, bag, box, container or glove compartment, knowingly grasp or hold the loaded handgun, or knowingly have contact with the loaded handgun by touching it with the person’s hands or fingers while the motor vehicle is being operated on a street, highway or public property unless the person removes, attempts to remove, grasps, holds or has the contact with the loaded handgun pursuant to and in accordance with directions given by a law enforcement officer.
      (3)   If the person is the driver or an occupant of a motor vehicle that is stopped as a result of a traffic stop or a stop for another law enforcement purpose or is the driver or an occupant of a commercial motor vehicle that is stopped by an employee of the motor carrier enforcement unit for the purposes defined in Ohio R.C. 5503.34, and if the person is transporting or has a loaded handgun in the motor vehicle or commercial motor vehicle in any manner, fail to do any of the following that is applicable:
         A.   If the person is the driver or an occupant of a motor vehicle stopped as a result of a traffic stop or a stop for another law enforcement purpose, fail to promptly inform any law enforcement officer who approaches the vehicle while stopped that the person has been issued a license or temporary emergency license to carry a concealed handgun and that the person then possesses or has a loaded handgun in the motor vehicle;
         B.   If the person is the driver or an occupant of a commercial motor vehicle stopped by an employee of the motor carrier enforcement unit for any of the defined purposes, fail to promptly inform the employee of the unit who approaches the vehicle while stopped that the person has been issued a license or temporary emergency license to carry a concealed handgun and that the person then possesses or has a loaded handgun in the commercial motor vehicle.
      (4)   If the person is the driver or an occupant of a motor vehicle that is stopped as a result of a traffic stop or a stop for another law enforcement purpose and if the person is transporting or has a loaded handgun in the motor vehicle in any manner, knowingly fail to remain in the motor vehicle while stopped, or knowingly fail to keep the person’s hands in plain sight at any time after any law enforcement officer begins approaching the person while stopped and before the law enforcement officer leaves, unless the failure is pursuant to and in accordance with directions given by a law enforcement officer.
      (5)   If the person is the driver or an occupant of a motor vehicle that is stopped as a result of a traffic stop or a stop for another law enforcement purpose, if the person is transporting or has a loaded handgun in the motor vehicle in a manner authorized under division (e)(1) of this section, and if the person is approached by any law enforcement officer while stopped, knowingly remove or attempt to remove the loaded handgun from the holster, case, bag, box, container or glove compartment, knowingly grasp or hold the loaded handgun, or knowingly have contact with the loaded handgun by touching it with the person’s hands or fingers in the motor vehicle at any time after the law enforcement officer begins approaching and before the law enforcement officer leaves, unless the person removes, attempts to remove, grasps, holds or has contact with the loaded handgun pursuant to and in accordance with directions given by the law enforcement officer.
      (6)   If the person is the driver or an occupant of a motor vehicle that is stopped as a result of a traffic stop or a stop for another law enforcement purpose and if the person is transporting or has a loaded handgun in the motor vehicle in any manner, knowingly disregard or fail to comply with any lawful order of any law enforcement officer given while the motor vehicle is stopped, including but not limited to a specific order to the person to keep the person’s hands in plain sight.
   (f)   (1)   Divisions (a), (b), (c) and (e) of this section do not apply to any of the following:
         A.   An officer, agent or employee of this or any other state or the United States, or a law enforcement officer, when authorized to carry or have loaded or accessible firearms in motor vehicles 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 motor vehicles, and who is subject to and in compliance with the requirements of Ohio R.C. 109.801, unless the appointing authority of the person has expressly specified that the exemption provided in this division (f)(1)B. does not apply to the person.
      (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 is either zoned for agriculture or is used for agriculture.
         C.   The person owns the real property described in division (f)(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:
            1.   While under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or alcohol and a drug of abuse;
            2.   In the direction of a street, highway or other public or private property used by the public for vehicular traffic or parking;
            3.   At or into an occupied structure that is a permanent or temporary habitation;
            4.   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)   Division (a) of this section does not apply to a person if all of the following apply:
         A.   The person possesses a valid electric-powered all-purpose vehicle permit issued under Ohio R.C. 1533.103 by the Chief of the Division of Wildlife.
         B.   The person discharges a firearm at a wild quadruped or game bird as defined in Ohio R.C. 1531.01 during the open hunting season for the applicable wild quadruped or game bird.
         C.   The person discharges a firearm from a stationary electric-powered all- purpose vehicle as defined in Ohio R.C. 1531.01 or a motor vehicle that is parked on a road that is owned or administered by the Division of Wildlife, provided that the road is identified by an electric-powered all-purpose vehicle sign.
         D.   The person does not discharge the firearm in any of the following manners:
            1.   While under the influence of alcohol, a drug of abuse, or alcohol and a drug of abuse;
            2.   In the direction of a street, a highway or other public or private property that is used by the public for vehicular traffic or parking;
            3.   At or into an occupied structure that is a permanent or temporary habitation;
            4.   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.
      (4)   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 is either zoned for agriculture or is used for agriculture.
         C.   The person owns the real property described in division (f)(4)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 (f)(4)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.
      (5)   Divisions (b) and (c) of this section do not apply to a person who transports or possesses a handgun in a motor vehicle if, at the time of that transportation or possession, all of the following apply:
         A.   The person transporting or possessing the handgun is carrying a valid license or temporary emergency license to carry a concealed handgun issued to the person under Ohio R.C. 2923.125 or 2923.1213 or a license to carry a concealed handgun that was issued by another state with which the Attorney General has entered into a reciprocity agreement under Ohio R.C. 109.69.
         B.   The person transporting or possessing the handgun is not knowingly in a place described in Ohio R.C. 2923.126(B).
         C.   One of the following applies:
            1.   The handgun is in a holster on the person’s person.
            2.   The handgun is in a closed case, bag, box or other container that is in plain sight and that has a lid, a cover or a closing mechanism with a zipper, snap or buckle, which lid, cover or closing mechanism must be opened for a person to gain access to the handgun.
            3.   The handgun is securely encased by being stored in a closed glove compartment or vehicle console or in a case that is locked.
      (6)   Divisions (b) and (c) of this section do not apply to a person if all of the following apply:
         A.   The person possesses a valid electric-powered all-purpose vehicle permit issued under Ohio R.C. 1533.103 by the Chief of the Division of Wildlife.
         B.   The person is on or in an electric-powered all-purpose vehicle as defined in Ohio R.C. 1531.01 or a motor vehicle during the open hunting season for a wild quadruped or game bird.
         C.   The person is on or in an electric-powered all-purpose vehicle as defined in Ohio R.C. 1531.01 or a motor vehicle that is parked on a road that is owned or administered by the Division of Wildlife, provided that the road is identified by an electric-powered all-purpose vehicle sign.
   (g)   (1)   The affirmative defenses authorized in Ohio R.C. 2923.12(D)(1) and (D)(2) are affirmative defenses to a charge under division (b) or (c) of this section that involves a firearm other than a handgun.
      (2)   It is an affirmative defense to a charge under division (b) or (c) of this section of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle that the actor transported or had the firearm in the motor vehicle for any lawful purpose and while the motor vehicle was on the actor’s own property, provided that this affirmative defense is not available unless the person, immediately prior to arriving at the actor’s own property, did not transport or possess the firearm in a 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.
   (h)   No person who is charged with a violation of division (b), (c) or (d) of this section shall be required to obtain a license or temporary emergency license to carry a concealed handgun under Ohio R.C. 2923.125 or 2923.1213 as a condition for the dismissal of the charge.
   (i)   Whoever violates this section is guilty of improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle. Violation of division (a) of this section is a felony to be prosecuted under appropriate state law. Violation of division (c) of this section is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. A violation of division (d) of this section is a felony to be prosecuted under appropriate state law and, if the loaded handgun is concealed on the person’s person, it is also a felony to be prosecuted under appropriate state law. Except as otherwise provided in this division, a violation of division (e)(3) of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree, and, in addition to any other penalty or sanction imposed for the violation, the offender’s license or temporary emergency license to carry a concealed handgun shall be suspended pursuant to Ohio R.C. 2923.128(A)(2). If at the time of the stop of the offender for a traffic stop, for another law enforcement purpose, or for a purpose defined in Ohio R.C. 5503.34 that was the basis of the violation any law enforcement officer involved with the stop or the employee of the motor carrier enforcement unit who made the stop had actual knowledge of the offender’s status as a licensee, a violation of division (e)(3) of this section is a minor misdemeanor, and the offender’s license or temporary emergency license to carry a concealed handgun shall not be suspended pursuant to Ohio R.C. 2923.128(A)(2). A violation of division (e)(1), (e)(2) or (e)(5) of this section is a felony to be prosecuted under appropriate state law. A violation of division (e)(4) or (e)(6) of this section is a misdemeanor of the first degree or, if the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation of division (e)(4) or (e)(6) of this section or any substantially equivalent state law or municipal ordinance, a felony to be prosecuted under appropriate state law. In addition to any other penalty or sanction imposed for a misdemeanor violation of division (e)(4) or (e)(6) of this section, the offender’s license or temporary emergency license to carry a concealed handgun shall be suspended pursuant to Ohio R.C. 2923.128(A)(2). A violation of division (b) of this section is whichever of the following is applicable:
      (1)   If, at the time of the transportation or possession in violation of division (b) of this section, the offender was carrying a valid license or temporary emergency license to carry a concealed handgun issued to the offender under Ohio R.C. 2923.125 or 2923.1213 or a license to carry a concealed handgun that was issued by another state with which the Attorney General has entered into a reciprocity agreement under Ohio R.C. 109.69 and the offender was not knowingly in a place described in Ohio R.C. 2923.126(B), the violation is a misdemeanor of the first degree or, if the offender previously has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation of division (b) of this section or any substantially equivalent state law or municipal ordinance, a felony to be prosecuted under appropriate state law.
      (2)   If division (i)(1) of this section does not apply, a felony to be prosecuted under appropriate state law.
   (j)   If a law enforcement officer stops a motor vehicle for a traffic stop or any other purpose, if any person in the motor vehicle 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. If a court orders a law enforcement officer to return a firearm to a person pursuant to the requirement set forth in this division, Ohio R.C. 2923.163(B) applies.
   (k)   For the purpose of this section, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
      (1)   “Agriculture.” Has the same meaning as in Ohio R.C. 519.01.
      (2)   “Commercial motor vehicle.” Has the same meaning as in Ohio R.C. 4506.25(A).
      (3)   “Motor carrier enforcement unit.” The Motor Carrier Enforcement Unit in the Department of Public Safety, Division of State Highway Patrol, that is created by Ohio R.C. 5503.34.
      (4)   “Motor vehicle,” “street” and “highway.” Have the same meaning as in Ohio R.C. 4511.01.
      (5)   “Occupied structure.” Has the same meaning as in Ohio R.C. 2909.01.
      (6)   “Tenant.” Has the same meaning as in Ohio R.C. 1531.01.
      (7)   “Unloaded.” Any of the following:
         A.   No ammunition is in the firearm in question, and no ammunition is loaded into a magazine or speed loader that may be used with the firearm in question and that is located anywhere within the vehicle in question, without regard to where ammunition otherwise is located within the vehicle in question. For the purposes of division A. of this definition, ammunition held in stripper-clips or in en-bloc clips is not considered ammunition that is loaded into a magazine or speed loader.
         B.   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.
(ORC 2923.16)