VERIFY | Are automatic weapons legal in Ohio? If so, are there any requirements to own them?

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The sound of the gunfire during the Las Vegas shooting said it all. According to ballistics experts, the speed and pattern of the shots show this was more than a semi-automatic weapon being fired

So we wanted to Verify what laws govern high capacity weapons in Ohio.

We spoke with: Suzanne Dabkowsky of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, Jonathan Fulkerson Deputy Chief Counsel at the Ohio Attorney General's Office, and Mark Tricano from JACK Cleveland Casino

Fulkerson told us that under the National Firearms Act enacted in 1934, anybody can buy a fully automatic weapon here as long as they comply with Federal Law.

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Federal Law requires:

-The gun to be registered and bought from a licensed NFA dealer
-You pay a $200 transfer tax in addition to the cost of the gun
-Go through a background check

"And it does entail fingerprints and a photo, as well as sending in a questionnaire about your history. Once that's all sent in, the FBI verifies the fingerprints etc. and your background is approved,” says Suzanne Dabkowsky of the ATF.

We also learned you can only purchase automatic weapons made prior to 1986.

“Anything made after that date can only be purchased by law enforcement and military,” says Dabkowsky.

Unless you are an NFA dealer and a police or military agency approves it.

But people can get around the NFA rules, with legal add-ons that can mimic automatic weapons by firing hundreds of rounds per minute.

An analysis by the Department of the Treasury and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms ranked Ohio 11th in the country this year in terms of the number of fully automatic weapons registered with the state. There were 21,561. And that number has nearly doubled from 2000, when it was 11,954.

But just because you own one of these weapons, doesn't mean you can take them anywhere. Even if you have a concealed carry permit.

Private businesses can set their own rules, as long as they are posted.

For instance, Mark Tricano, GM of JACK Cleveland Casino, emailed this statement on its policy, which prohibits guns on the premises:

“The safety of our guests and team members is our top priority. JACK Cleveland Casino has security team members stationed at every entrance and bags are searched upon entering to ensure safety. In addition, we have multiple Cleveland Police Department officers posted in and around the property 24/7.”


So, are automatic weapons allowed in Ohio?

Yes.

And that's Verified.

However, an Ohio law that went into effect in March, does allow people with CCW's to keep their weapons locked in their vehicle, even if a business bans them.

VERIFY: SOURCES

  • Suzanne Dabkowsky of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms
  • Jonathan Fulkerson Deputy Chief Counsel at the Ohio Attorney General's Office
  • Mark Tricano from JACK Cleveland Casino