Book review: The Ohio Guide to Firearm Laws
By Jim Irvine
I recently finished reading The Ohio Guide to Firearm Laws by Ken Hanson, now in the third edition. For all the people who have acquired their first CHL in the past year, this book should be considered a must-read. For those who have already read one of the previous editions, there is enough new material in the latest version to make it worthy investment of your time and money.
If you are going to play a game, you need to know the rules. Carrying a gun, or using it for self defense, are far more serious than any game, and it is infinitely more important that you fully know and understand the rules. This is complicated by the fact that the rules keep changing. Ignorance is no excuse.
Hanson is the most knowledgeable person regarding Ohio firearms laws, period. No one else has the combined experience as a prosecutor, defender, and lobbyist to give them a better understanding of Ohio's firearms laws. Hanson's book describes the law in terms that average citizens can understand, and has the applicable Ohio Revised Code sections included for those who like to refer to it. One book, once source to answer all your basic questions.
Being directly involved in the lobbying for changes to the law, I was surprised much I learned reading his book. As the saying goes, you don't know what you don't know. And what you don't know could land you in a heap of trouble. If you don't like paying attorneys, then think of this book as a form of "retainer" insurance.
Hanson's book explains criminal and firearms laws in general terms. It gives the background as to why our laws are the way they are so that the gun owner can have some context to explain, "Why would they do that!?" (Note – not all those questions are answered in this book, but enough to give you the feel for the problem, and thus start working toward a solution.)
The book also covers self-defense issues, both lethal and non-lethal and liability issues. It is a hollow victory to save your life from criminal attack, only to lose it to criminal prosecutions or liability lawsuits. You must win every battle. This book is great foundation to help you build a sound plan that will keep you out of trouble. Think of the knowledge as legal tactics to survive in a dangerous (litigious) society.
Far too often we are contacted by someone who has been charged with a firearms-related offense. The situations vary from misdemeanors with a possible few hundred dollar fine to felonies with mandatory prison time. Note – I'm NOT talking about "criminal" activity here, I'm talking about regular people just like you who often don't even understand what they did wrong.
I usually ask them if they have read Ken's book. They have not, but several of them have begun studying the Ohio Revised Code in earnest. It's amazing what the threat of jail time will do to your perspectives and priorities. Don't wait 'til then to start learning.
Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, and the host of Firearms Forum, Ohio's first talk radio show about guns and gun rights.