No, WKRC, Kyle Rittenhouse couldn't have open carried an AR-15 in Ohio without laws being broken

If you looked up #FakeNews in the urban dictionary, it probably points to an article by WKRC (CBS Cincinnati) reporter David Winters.

The problems begin with the headline and continue throughout.

The headline, which screams "The Tri-State's long gun laws: Ohio, Kentucky don't have age limits on possessing AR-15s," is, at best, highly misleading, as will be shown below.

The article is as bad as the headline:

The boy charged with shooting and killing people with an AR-15-style weapon at a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, is also being charged with minor in possession of a firearm. So, what is the legality of minors carrying an AR-15 on public streets here in the Tri-State?

The kick is basically non-existent and with the silencer, the sound made by the AR-15 is as soft as a BB gun. Local 12 did some target shooting at a gun shop in Alexandria with basically the same rifle that was used by the 17-year-old in Wisconsin. We wanted to find exactly how the laws in the Tri-State would apply in the same situation.

Our own research came up with this: In Indiana, you must be 18 to possess a handgun or assault weapon, defined as any firearm that can accept a 15-round clip, unless hunting, target shooting or for safety training.

In Ohio and Kentucky, there is no age limit on having a rifle, including an AR-15. So, it would have been perfectly legal for that 17-year-old in Kenosha -- or any child -- to walk down Ohio and Kentucky streets with an AR.

Let's begin with this statement: "...with the silencer, the sound made by the AR-15 is as soft as a BB gun."

According to SilencerCentral.com, a suppressed AR-15 puts out 135-145 dB. As a benchmark, a lawnmower is about 90 dB, and a common BB gun hits 97 dB in sound.

When contacted with these facts via Twitter, Winters doubled down on his error, saying "Regarding the difference between 97 dB and 135 dB... it’s absolutely negligible. A library is 40 dB."

What Winters clearly doesn't understand is that, since sound is measured in decibels (dB) on a logarithmic scale, a suppressed AR is roughly 16 times louder than a common BB gun. 16 times louder is far from an " absolutely negligible" difference.

And what about this whopper?: "...it would have been perfectly legal for that 17-year-old in Kenosha -- or any child -- to walk down Ohio...streets with an AR."

We asked Winters, via Twitter, to explain how a minor can come to possess a firearm in Ohio in this scenario without a gun control law being broken. He suggested a youth could have "borrowed" (i.e. stolen) a gun from his parents. Which is, of course, against the law.

So again, in order for a minor to be in possession of a firearm under this scenario in Ohio, gun control laws would have to broken.

Not only is it illegal for a minor to steal a gun, it is also illegal in Ohio to sell or furnish any firearm to someone under 18 years of age. See ORC 2923.21 Improperly furnishing firearms to minor (quoted as follows in part):

(A) No person shall do any of the following:

(1) Sell any firearm to a person who is under eighteen years of age;

(2) Subject to division (B) of this section, sell any handgun to a person who is under twenty-one years of age;

(3) Furnish any firearm to a person who is under eighteen years of age or, subject to division (B) of this section, furnish any handgun to a person who is under twenty-one years of age, except for lawful hunting, sporting, or educational purposes, including, but not limited to, instruction in firearms or handgun safety, care, handling, or marksmanship under the supervision or control of a responsible adult;

...

(C) Whoever violates this section is guilty of improperly furnishing firearms to a minor, a felony of the fifth degree.

Since you can't sell to a minor and you can't furnish to a minor, and since it would be illegal for a minor to otherwise obtain access to a gun (for example, by theft), there is no legal way for a minor to possess a firearm in Ohio outside of the lawful exception noted in 2923.21 (3) above. 

So, no, it would NOT "have been perfectly legal for that 17-year-old in Kenosha -- or any child -- to walk down Ohio...streets with an AR."

Chad D. Baus served as Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary from 2013-2019. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website, and is also an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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