Concealed Handgun Licenses And Criminal Law: How To Avoid A Suspension Or Revocation Of Your Concealed Handgun License

A couple years ago, I decided to apply for my concealed handgun license.  I printed off the Ohio Concealed Carry Laws Manual from the Attorney General’s Office to study and signed up for a firearms safety course.  For anyone who has not taken a firearms safety course, it is broken down into two sections.  The first section is a class on firearms safety and the second section is live fire at a gun range.  I aced the first section but did not do to well on the second section.  Turns out I was a horrible shot with a handgun.  Facing a situation where I would have to fire my handgun at an assailant, I would hit everything but the assailant.  So, I decided not to turn in my application for a concealed handgun license.  I like to think that I had public safety in mind.

In any event, I found the process of obtaining a concealed handgun license interesting.  If anything, it helped me relate to clients that went through the same process and understanding their desire to maintain their concealed handgun license.

Concealed handgun laws are nothing new to Ohio and sheriff departments throughout Ohio have been issuing concealed handgun licenses for many years.   In 2013, there were 96, 972 new concealed carry licenses issued in Ohio.  The number of new concealed handgun licenses, however, dropped to 58,066 in 2014.  Looking at Montgomery County numbers, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office issued 4,944 new concealed handgun licenses in 2013 and 2,798 in 2014.   And these numbers do not reflect the amount of concealed handgun licenses renewed.

Based on these numbers, there are quite a few citizens of the Buckeye State carrying concealed handguns.  However, I have found through my practice that a majority of individuals I talk with who hold a concealed handgun license do not understand what criminal violations can suspended or revoke their license.

There are two statutes in the Ohio Revised Code that must be read together in order to figure out what criminal violations can suspend or revoke your concealed handgun license.  Specifically, R.C. 293.125 – Application and Licensing Process, and R.C. 2923.128 – Suspension and Revocation of License.  Like most statutes, R.C. 2923.125 and R.C. 2923.128 do not lend a straight answer and refers back to multiple sections of the Revised Code.  In an attempt to simplify R.C. 2923.125 and R.C. 2923.128, I will break the statute down as Suspension Type 1, Suspension Type 2, and Revocation.

Suspension Type 1

A suspension will be triggered if you are charged or arrested for the following:

  • A felony
  • An offense involving the illegal possession, use, sale, administration, or the distribution of or trafficking in a drug of abuse
  • Misdemeanor offense of violence
  • Negligent Assault
  • Falsification of Concealed Handgun License

Once the sheriff department who issued your concealed handgun license becomes aware of your arrest, that sheriff must notify you by certified mail at your last known address that your concealed handgun license is now suspended.  In that letter, the sheriff will demand that you turn in your concealed handgun license within ten days from the mailing of the notice.

The suspension start date is the day of your arrest or the day you are charged with any of the above offenses.  It is important to note that you do not have to be notified by the sheriff department that issued the concealed carry license for the suspension to become active.  Once those handcuffs go on or you are issued a criminal summons for any of the above offenses, consider your concealed handgun license suspended!  In order for this type of suspension to be lifted, your charge(s) must be dismissed or be found not guilty.

Suspension Type 2

A suspension will be triggered if you are convicted of or plead guilty to the following:

  • A misdemeanor violation for Carrying a Concealed Weapon
  • A misdemeanor violation for Improper Handling a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle

The suspension start date is the date of conviction of the offense or the date of a guilty plea. Unlike Suspension Type 1, Suspension Type 2 carries definite suspension terms.  Depending on your conviction or guilty plea, there can be a one year suspension or a two year suspension of your concealed handgun license.  Once again, you do not have to be notified by the sheriff department that issued your concealed handgun license for the suspension to become active.  You will still receive through certified mail from the issuing sheriff department that your concealed handgun license is suspended and you will have ten days to turn over your license.  In addition to that information, the sheriff department will also inform you when your suspension is terminated.

However, you might be able to avoid a suspension of your concealed handgun license if it can be shown that at the time of traffic stop, the law enforcement officer had actual knowledge that you possessed a valid concealed carry license.


A permanent revocation of your concealed handgun license will take place when there is a conviction or guilty plea to the following:

  • Using Weapons While Intoxicated
  • A felony
  • An offense involving the illegal possession, use, sale, administration, or the distribution of or trafficking in a drug of abuse
  • Assault
  • Any misdemeanor that is punishable by an imprisonment that exceeds one year
  • Misdemeanor offense of violence
  • Resisting Arrest
  • Falsification of Concealed Handgun License
  • Negligent Assault

Looking at the possible suspension type lists and the revocation list, I am willing to bet that most individuals that have a concealed handgun license will say they would never commit any of those crimes!  But before jumping to that conclusion, let me give you an example that most concealed handgun license holders are guilty of at one time or another.

It has been a long day at week at work, and you just received a text from your friends to meet up at the local watering hole for a couple cocktails.  Thinking to yourself that you deserve a cocktail or two for this hell of a week you just endured, you text back that you are in!  You finish up your day, run to the door before your boss knows you are gone, and jump in your car to get the hell out of work.  With the only thing on your mind is good times and laughs, you forgot to remove your handgun from the center console to unload and properly store it.  And why should you remember?  You have had your concealed handgun license for a year now and your handgun has not been removed for some time now.

The night concludes, you say goodbye to your friends, and get back in your car to head home.  Once again, you forgot to deal with your handgun in your center console.  While listening to your music and driving down the road, you look up at your rearview mirror and your heart jumps a couple beats.  You see the dreaded party lights of your local police department!

You pull over safely and wait for instructions.  The officer approaches your vehicle and informs you that he stopped you for speeding.  At that very moment you remembered that you are required to inform the officer that you hold a concealed handgun license and that your handgun is in your vehicle.  Like most officers, this officer requires you to step out of your vehicle so he can disarm/unload your handgun.  Unfortunate for you is that the officer smells alcohol during this process and begins to question you about your alcohol consumption.  Believing you to be impaired, the officer places you under arrest for Operating a Motor Vehicle while Impaired (OVI).  Major party kill! But that is not the end of the road for you quite yet.

Because you are under arrest for OVI and you had a loaded handgun in your center console, you are now facing a felony for Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle!  Ouch!!  This scenario happens more times than not and is always a tough case to fight.  One minute you are out with friends and the next minute you are an alleged felon.  Not how you thought the night would end!

Although this is a general overview of concealed handgun license suspensions and revocations, hopefully it will assist you with any current or future concealed handgun license issues in criminal court.  And as always, contact an attorney to help guide you through the legal minefield of concealed handgun licenses and criminal law.