A deadly weapon is generally defined as a firearm or anything manifestly
designed, made, or adapted for the purposes of inflicting death or serious
physical injury. The term includes, but is not limited to, a pistol, rifle,
or shotgun; or a switch-blade knife, gravity knife, stiletto, sword, or
dagger; or any billy, black-jack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles.
Use and carrying of deadly weapons are governed by state and federal
laws. Generally, use of a deadly weapon in commision of a crime enhances
the nature and penalty of the crime. Carrying concealed deadly weapons
is governed by state laws, which vary by state. Some states allow licensing
of qualified persons to carry a concealed deadly weapon. Because of differences
in the laws of the various states, it is possible that a person who is
lawfully permitted to possess a deadly weapon in another state may be prohibited
from doing under the law of another state. A state permitting licenses
to carry a concealed deadly weapon may typically prohibit such a license
to the following:
- any person previously convicted of any felony
- any person previously convicted of any misdemeanor involving physical injury
to another or domestic violence, unless more than 5 years has elapsed from
the date of the conviction
- any person previously convicted of any crime involving the unlawful use,
possession or sale of any illegal drug
- any person who has not yet reached his or her 25th birthday who has been
previously convicted as a juvenile of a crime which, if committed by an
adult, would constitute a felony
- any person who is subject to a Protection From Abuse Order issued by a
- any person who has previously been committed to a hospital or mental institution
for treatment for a mental disorder
The following is an example of an Ohio statute defining deadly weapons:
- "Deadly weapon" means any instrument, device, or thing capable of
inflicting death, and designed or specially adapted for use as a weapon,
or possessed, carried, or used as a weapon.
- (1) "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.(2) When determining whether a firearm is capable of expelling or propelling one or more projectiles by the action of an explosive or combustible propellant, the trier of fact may rely upon circumstantial evidence, including, but not limited to, the representations and actions of the individual exercising
control over the firearm.
- "Handgun" means any of the following:
(1) Any firearm that has a short stock and is designed to be held and
fired by the use of a single hand;
(2) Any combination of parts from which a firearm of a type described
in division (C)(1) of this section can be assembled.
- "Semi-automatic firearm" means any firearm designed or specially
adapted to fire a single cartridge and automatically chamber a succeeding
cartridge ready to fire, with a single function of the trigger.
- "Automatic firearm" means any firearm designed or specially adapted
to fire a succession of cartridges with a single function of the trigger.
00"Automatic firearm" also means any semi-automatic firearm designed or specially
adapted to fire more than thirty-one cartridges without reloading, other
than a firearm chambering only .22 caliber short, long, or long-rifle cartridges.
- "Sawed-off firearm" means a shotgun with a barrel less than eighteen
inches long, or a rifle with a barrel less than sixteen inches long, or
a shotgun or rifle less than twenty-six inches long overall.
- "Zip-gun" means any of the following:
(1) Any firearm of crude and extemporized manufacture;
(2) Any device, including without limitation a starter's pistol, that
is not designed as a firearm, but that is specially adapted for use as
(3) Any industrial tool, signalling device, or safety device, that is
not designed as a firearm, but that as designed is capable of use as such,
when possessed, carried, or used as a firearm.
- "Explosive device" means any device designed or specially adapted
to cause physical harm to persons or property by means of an explosion,
and consisting of an explosive substance or agency and a means to detonate
it. "Explosive device" includes without limitation any bomb, any explosive
demolition device, any blasting cap or detonator containing an explosive
charge, and any pressure vessel that has been knowingly tampered with or
arranged so as to explode.
- "Incendiary device" means any firebomb, and any device designed
or specially adapted to cause physical harm to persons or property by means
of fire, and consisting of an incendiary substance or agency and a means
to ignite it.
- "Ballistic knife" means a knife with a detachable blade that is
propelled by a spring-operated mechanism.
- "Dangerous ordnance" means any of the following, except as provided
in division (L) of this section:
(1) Any automatic or sawed-off firearm, zip-gun, or ballistic knife;
(2) Any explosive device or incendiary device;
(3) Nitroglycerin, nitrocellulose, nitrostarch, PETN, cyclonite, TNT,
picric acid, and other high explosives; amatol, tritonal, tetrytol, pentolite,
pecretol, cyclotol, and other high explosive compositions; plastic explosives;
dynamite, blasting gelatin, gelatin dynamite, sensitized ammonium nitrate,
liquid-oxygen blasting explosives, blasting powder, and other blasting
agents; and any other explosive substance having sufficient brisance or
power to be particularly suitable for use as a military explosive, or for
use in mining, quarrying, excavating, or demolitions;
(4) Any firearm, rocket launcher, mortar, artillery piece, grenade,
mine, bomb, torpedo, or similar weapon, designed and manufactured for military
purposes, and the ammunition for that weapon;
(5) Any firearm muffler or silencer;
(6) Any combination of parts that is intended by the owner for use in
converting any firearm or other device into a dangerous ordnance.
- "Dangerous ordnance" does not include any of the following:
(1) Any firearm, including a military weapon and the ammunition for
that weapon, and regardless of its actual age, that employs a percussion
cap or other obsolete ignition system, or that is designed and safe for
use only with black powder;
(2) Any pistol, rifle, or shotgun, designed or suitable for sporting
purposes, including a military weapon as issued or as modified, and the
ammunition for that weapon, unless the firearm is an automatic or sawed-off
firearm; (3) Any cannon or other artillery piece that, regardless of its actual
age, is of a type in accepted use prior to 1887, has no mechanical, hydraulic,
pneumatic, or other system for absorbing recoil and returning the tube
into battery without displacing the carriage, and is designed and safe
for use only with black powder; (4) Black powder, priming quills, and percussion caps possessed and lawfully used to fire a cannon of a type defined in division (L)(3) of
this section during displays, celebrations, organized matches or shoots,
and target practice, and smokeless and black powder, primers, and percussion
caps possessed and lawfully used as a propellant or ignition device in
small-arms or small-arms ammunition; (5) Dangerous ordnance that is inoperable or inert and cannot readily be rendered operable or activated, and that is kept as a trophy, souvenir, curio, or museum piece.
(6) Any device that is expressly excepted from the definition of a destructive
device pursuant to the "Gun Control Act of 1968," 82 Stat. 1213, 18 U.S.C.
921(a)(4), as amended, and regulations issued under that act.
- "Explosive" means any chemical compound, mixture, or device, the
primary or common purpose of which is to function by explosion. "Explosive"
includes all materials that have been classified as class A, class B, or
class C explosives by the United States department of transportation in
its regulations and includes, but is not limited to, dynamite, black powder,
pellet powders, initiating explosives, blasting caps, electric blasting
caps, safety fuses, fuse igniters, squibs, cordeau detonant fuses, instantaneous
fuses, and igniter cords and igniters. "Explosive" does not include "fireworks,"
as defined in section 3743.01 of the Revised Code, or any explosive that
is not subject to regulation under the rules of the fire marshal adopted
pursuant to section 3737.82 of the Revised Code."