Do you have to obey no-gun signs in Ohio public parks or fairgrounds?

Ohio legalized concealed carry 20 years ago. However, not everyone got on board with the program.

Many cities banned firearms in public parks and refused to recognize state law, even when "preemption" was passed two years later and overrides city home rule on gun laws. This matter even went to the Ohio Supreme Court, which ruled in 2008 that it's unconstitutional to ban guns in public parks.

Over the years, cities have been grudgingly removing their no-gun signs, but you still see them occasionally. Often it's just a matter of small cities neglecting to update old signage.

So the question is, do you have to obey no-gun signs in Ohio public parks?

I'd like to simply say, "no." However, the proper legal answer is "these signs are unenforceable." The problem is that even though cities are prohibited by state law from posting and enforcing no-gun signs in public spaces, there's always the possibility that if someone becomes aware of your firearm and reports it, you may be subject to law enforcement intervention.

Most likely, a responding officer will know the law and shrug it off. But there's a slim chance you'll have a legal hassle. You will eventually prevail, but you may be forced to hire an attorney and fight the so-called violation.

If you see a no-gun sign in a public park, contact Buckeye Firearms Association. We've helped citizens get these signs removed in a number of cities:

OK, but what about fairgrounds? This is where things can get complicated.

If a fairgrounds is a public space and there is a pubic event taking place on the grounds, no-gun signs are unenforceible. However, fairgrounds and fairs are often not "public."

Sometimes a fair could be held on privately leased spaces or run by privately operated organizations. If so, the private organization hosting the event has the authority to restrict firearms on the property and the no-gun signs can be legally enforced.

It is sometimes difficult to determine who owns the land or what entity is operating the fair. And the no-gun signs are often not displayed properly to help you know what is or is not permitted. Sometimes signs are posted in the parking area, which can make it difficult to comply if you've driven a long distance to attend the fair.

It's best to do your research in advance by looking at fair policies on their website or calling fair operators before you make plans.

Dean Rieck is Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, a former competitive shooter, NRA Patron Member, former #1 NRA Recruiter, and host of the Keep and Bear Radio podcast.

Help us fight for your rights!

Become a member of Buckeye Firearms Association and support our grassroots efforts to defend and advance YOUR RIGHTS!

Subscribe to our FREE Newsletter

Get weekly news and instant alerts on the latest laws and politics that affect your gun rights. Enjoy cutting-edge commentary. Be among the first to hear about gun raffles, firearms training, and special events. Read more.

We respect your privacy and your email address will be kept confidential.


Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation. Read more.