The Ohio Supreme Court will hear arguments in February  to decide whether a law prohibiting gun owners from carrying firearms while intoxicated should be applied inside a gun owner's home.
Lawyers for a Clermont County man arrested in 2018 after he acknowledged having an unloaded shotgun while drunk say the law is unconstitutional when applied to homeowners.
They say a person's sobriety or intoxication level should have nothing to do with possessing a weapon "in the hearth and home."
Gun control advocates argue the safety of Ohio residents and responding police officers would be jeopardized if the court overturned the arrest.
The court has scheduled oral arguments for Feb. 25. A decision isn't expected for months.
Ohio v Weber, State appellate decision
Around 4:00 a.m. on February 17, 2018, a deputy and a sergeant from the Clermont County Sheriff's Office were dispatched to appellant's home following the 9-1-1 call of his wife reporting that appellant was in possession of a firearm and intoxicated. When the officers arrived at the scene, appellant's wife advised them that everything was alright as appellant had put the firearm away. The deputy asked her if they could enter the home and she escorted them inside. Once inside, the officers observed appellant coming out of a doorway, holding a shotgun by the stock with the barrel pointed down. Appellant told the officers that the shotgun was unloaded and that he was unloading it to wipe it down. The officers took possession of the shotgun and confirmed it was unloaded. The officers did not observe any ammunition for the shotgun.
While interacting with appellant, the deputy detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage on appellant's person. Appellant's eyes were bloodshot and glassy, his speech
was slurred, and he was unsteady on his feet. Appellant was unable to complete a field sobriety test because he could not follow directions. Furthermore, he was swaying while standing in the instruction position. Appellant stated several times that he was drunk. The officers described appellant as "very intoxicated," "very impaired," and "highly intoxicated."
Appellant was convicted of violating R.C. 2923.15(A) which provides, "No person, while under the influence of alcohol or any drug of abuse, shall carry or use any firearm or dangerous ordnance." Whoever violates the statute is "guilty of using weapons while intoxicated[.]" R.C. 2923.15(B). "'Firearm' means any deadly weapon capable of expelling or propelling one or more projectiles by the action of an explosive or combustible propellant. 'Firearm' includes an unloaded firearm, and any firearm that is inoperable but that can readily be rendered operable." R.C. 2923.11(B).
R.C. 2923.15 does not, as suggested by appellant, criminalize the mere presence of a firearm in the home of an intoxicated person. Nor does the statute, as suggested by appellant, prohibit a person from carrying or using a firearm after consuming alcoholic beverages. Rather, the statute only prohibits the use or carrying of a firearm by a person who has imbibed to the point of intoxication.
For comparison, 430 ILCS 65 (FOID Act) is silent on intoxicating substances, but 430 ILCS 66 (FCC Act) doesn't specify where intoxication is prohibited.
Edited by Euler, 21 November 2019 - 10:53 PM.