Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

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Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby joerocket » Thu May 10, 2018 3:14 pm

Long story short, I am trying to determine if I can legally carry a gun in my business. It is located in a large building that is primarily residential (90% residential, 10% commercial). Most of the commercial "common areas" are also shared with the residential tenants. There are gun buster signs at every entrance, including entrances that are only supposed to be accessible by residential tenants (with a key fob). I ran across ORC 2923.123 (3b) which clearly protects the residential tenants from the landlord prohibiting handguns. Common sense would say if 90% of the building tenants were specifically allowed to possess a handgun on the premises than I should be too... But I couldn't find specific/relevant information for commercial tenants. Can anyone point me in the right direction? If the landlord can prohibit commercial tenants from allowing CCW in their businesses, is there any exception for the business owner to be allowed to carry a firearm? Would it make a difference if the handgun was stored in my desk/office instead of on my person? Thanks
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby JediSkipdogg » Thu May 10, 2018 6:31 pm

I can't think of any legal exception. Heck, the landlord section you found won't even let someone watching your apartment carry. They can only carry in the presence of the actual renter.
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby joerocket » Thu May 10, 2018 8:04 pm

JediSkipdogg wrote:I can't think of any legal exception. Heck, the landlord section you found won't even let someone watching your apartment carry. They can only carry in the presence of the actual renter.


I am not sure if it matters but to clarify I am the person that actually signed the lease. There isn't a clause in the lease prohibiting firearms. But I don't rent an apartment there, I only rent commercial space. The building has close to 1000 apartments and less than 20 businesses in it. The majority of the businesses have their own entrances from the street level, I haven't looked to see how many of those are posted. To enter our office area you do need to go through the same entrances the residential tenants do, which are the ones that definitely have the gun busters signs. I haven't had any discussion with the owners about it. I am not sure if they are even the ones that posted the signs, it could have been the prior owners. I also don't see them being willing to press trespassing charges when they have thousands of tenants in the same building that they cannot legally prohibit from having handguns. I am just trying to keep things above the board and it would give me some piece of mind knowing if I did have a legal right to have a firearm in my office.
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby djthomas » Thu May 10, 2018 8:07 pm

In business everything is negotiable. I know a guy who leased some commercial space for two years and during all the back and forth had his lawyer slip in a seemingly unrelated line basically saying that the tenant had sole discretion with respect to trespass matters concerning his unit. When asked my buddy laughed and told some yarn about how at their previous place the landlord had an alcoholic cousin who would hang around the store and scare customers away but the police refused to arrest him because he was technically part owner of the building. The landlord insisted that such behavior would never happen on his premises and readily agreed to the provision.

There was already another provision stating that the landlord would not restrict or otherwise inhibit the tenant's customers and employees from accessing the unit as otherwise provided in the agreement.

In essence the landlord waived his right to apply a concealed carry restriction to his unit, and by other language in the contract, couldn't enforce it on the common areas for people going to/from the tenant's unit. Of course it wasn't explicitly worded that way, but that was the effect.

It never came to be an issue because in order for it to be an issue, you first have to get caught. But believe me, given the neighborhood, my buddy and most of his employees were well aware of what the agreement said.
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby MyWifeSaidYes » Thu May 10, 2018 9:58 pm

joerocket wrote:... I ran across ORC 2923.123 (3b) ...


2923.126(C)(3)(b) only protects residential tenants.

You might have a chance if you point out 2923.126(C)(2)(a) to your landlord. They are immune from civil liability if they allow licensees to carry.

Don't mention the part where they are also immune if they disallow licensed carry. :wink:
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby sodbuster95 » Thu May 10, 2018 10:26 pm

djthomas wrote:In essence the landlord waived his right to apply a concealed carry restriction to his unit, and by other language in the contract, couldn't enforce it on the common areas for people going to/from the tenant's unit. Of course it wasn't explicitly worded that way, but that was the effect.


Nice! I'm going to remember that for any future lease agreements I negotiate for my clients (or myself, for that matter).
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby someguy » Fri May 11, 2018 5:18 am

Make friends with some of the residents. If you are in the same building with another person you might be a visitor or guest.
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby M-Quigley » Fri May 11, 2018 8:55 am

someguy wrote:Make friends with some of the residents. If you are in the same building with another person you might be a visitor or guest.


Based on what Jedi pointed out, (see above) what difference would that make?
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby joerocket » Fri May 11, 2018 10:51 am

MyWifeSaidYes wrote:
joerocket wrote:... I ran across ORC 2923.123 (3b) ...


2923.126(C)(3)(b) only protects residential tenants.

You might have a chance if you point out 2923.126(C)(2)(a) to your landlord. They are immune from civil liability if they allow licensees to carry.

Don't mention the part where they are also immune if they disallow licensed carry. :wink:


Maybe I am reading it wrong, but I doesn't seem like 2923.126 (C)(2)(a) would apply to the landlord. I am the private employer that wants to have a firearm in my place of business. There isn't any posted signs in my business, just in the common entrances that are shared with residential tenants. Unless the argument is that the building owner is immune from liability since they are also a private employer and the building they own is one of their places of business.
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby joerocket » Fri May 11, 2018 10:56 am

djthomas wrote:In business everything is negotiable. I know a guy who leased some commercial space for two years and during all the back and forth had his lawyer slip in a seemingly unrelated line basically saying that the tenant had sole discretion with respect to trespass matters concerning his unit. When asked my buddy laughed and told some yarn about how at their previous place the landlord had an alcoholic cousin who would hang around the store and scare customers away but the police refused to arrest him because he was technically part owner of the building. The landlord insisted that such behavior would never happen on his premises and readily agreed to the provision.

There was already another provision stating that the landlord would not restrict or otherwise inhibit the tenant's customers and employees from accessing the unit as otherwise provided in the agreement.

In essence the landlord waived his right to apply a concealed carry restriction to his unit, and by other language in the contract, couldn't enforce it on the common areas for people going to/from the tenant's unit. Of course it wasn't explicitly worded that way, but that was the effect.

It never came to be an issue because in order for it to be an issue, you first have to get caught. But believe me, given the neighborhood, my buddy and most of his employees were well aware of what the agreement said.


I just looked through the lease again. I didn't see anything in the lease that would help permit or disallow concealed carry. In retrospect I should have tried to specifically address it in the lease but it didn't come to mind at the time and we have 5-6 years left on the current lease.
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby joerocket » Fri May 11, 2018 11:07 am

M-Quigley wrote:
someguy wrote:Make friends with some of the residents. If you are in the same building with another person you might be a visitor or guest.


Based on what Jedi pointed out, (see above) what difference would that make?


I agree that wouldn't make any difference since the statue says you have to be in the presence of the residential tenant. Even without that restriction, my understanding to be charged with trespassing the owner or their agent/servant would have to press charges. Anyone that would qualify to do that would likely know who I am and that I am there because my business is located in the building, not because I am there visiting a residential tenant.
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby joerocket » Fri May 11, 2018 3:20 pm

After reading closer 2923.126(C)(3)(a) seems to be the applicable statute and the only exception is for residential tenants. That whole section is for "licensed" individuals. So my next question... Is there still a section of code that applies to unlicensed individuals? I feel like I should be able to find it but have been unable to. I have never researched those laws since I have had my CCW as long as I have owned firearms. But I am assuming there was likely provisions for people to carry concealed in their private residences and I remember hearing that there was an exception for business owners to have a firearm without a permit. Does that stuff still exist? Or was it done away with when CCW permits became prevalent? I would prefer to be able to legally have a concealed firearm at all times. But the next best thing would be to have a firearm stored in my office, so I am wondering if that may be an option.

I am considering talking the landlord about it. I am not confident they are even the ones that put up the signs. There was a couple prior tenants that were prohibited places by statute which required the postings. The signs are real beat up so I am sure they have been up for many years. Before I did that I just wanted to make sure I had a better understanding of the relevant law.
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby schmieg » Fri May 11, 2018 10:00 pm

Prior to HB12 taking effect in 2004, many business owners maintained guns at the place of business as there was no prohibition against it. There still is no prohibition against it, but the property owner's rights to restrict firearms was put into the code and that preempts your right to keep firearms in the business location absent the landlord's permission (if you obtain such permission, get it in writing). There may be issues in maintaining a firearm at the premises even with permission if you do not have a CHL, though that has not yet been adjudicated. The issue would be if you kept the firearm in a desk drawer, does that constitute a concealed weapon under the code.

I kept a Browning HiPower at my office for years until HB12 passed and then I obtained my CHL as soon as it was available. The reasonable man affirmative defense that used to exist was changed when concealed carry passed to only cover long guns, just so you are aware.

Your main problem is your landlord's posting.
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby joerocket » Mon May 14, 2018 4:05 pm

schmieg wrote:Prior to HB12 taking effect in 2004, many business owners maintained guns at the place of business as there was no prohibition against it. There still is no prohibition against it, but the property owner's rights to restrict firearms was put into the code and that preempts your right to keep firearms in the business location absent the landlord's permission (if you obtain such permission, get it in writing). There may be issues in maintaining a firearm at the premises even with permission if you do not have a CHL, though that has not yet been adjudicated. The issue would be if you kept the firearm in a desk drawer, does that constitute a concealed weapon under the code.

I kept a Browning HiPower at my office for years until HB12 passed and then I obtained my CHL as soon as it was available. The reasonable man affirmative defense that used to exist was changed when concealed carry passed to only cover long guns, just so you are aware.

Your main problem is your landlord's posting.


Thanks for your response, it was helpful.

I am not an attorney so I hate to rely too heavily on my logic. But since 2923.126 is titled "duties of a licensed individual", and a Ohio concealed carry permit doesn't authorize you to carry a long gun concealed, it seems reasonable to think that in respect to a long gun being skept my place of business I am an "unlicensed individual". If I am an "unlicensed individual" in respect to a long gun than I doesn't seem like the landlord would have a basis to legally prohibit that long gun based on 2923.126(3)(a). Do you agree, that I could legally keep a long gun at my business even though the landlord posted a sign prohibiting firearms?

I tried doing some research on the specifics of the reasonable man affirmative defense and to figure out what and how it would apply to my situation. Everything I found was explaining how it is used to show that a shooting was done in self defense. Do you have any suggestions on how I can find more specific information? Or should I just assume it will be difficult to find information since the assumption would be the defense would only need to be raised if a shooting occurred?
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Re: Landlord's rights to prohibit guns

Postby schmieg » Mon May 14, 2018 8:42 pm

If the lease terms or the rules prohibit "firearms," "guns," or other generic terms, you are barred from having those on the premises. If it says "handgun," "pistols," "revolvers" and the like, you are probably ok.

The question is whether you want a fight with your landlord. Even if you beat a trespass beef, you will probably be evicted.
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