No functional weapons are allowed at the Cincinnati Comic Expo. Simulated or costume weapons are allowed as a part of your costume in compliance with the following guidelines:

    • All costume weapons must conform to state and federal law. Scroll down for LOCAL LAWS and statutes.
      • All weapons must be easily distinguishable from real weapons and must be constructed from safe, lightweight material. Approved materials are: rubber, plastic (PVC, worbla, etc.), foam, cardboard and papier-mâché.
      • All prop firearms must be incapable of firing projectiles and have an orange cap on the barrel. Projectiles or any type of ammunition are forbidden. BB guns, paintball guns, dart guns, blow guns and water guns and their accompanying ammunition will NOT be permitted.
      • Nerf guns are allowed, but ammunition of any kind (foam or otherwise) is prohibited. Nerf guns must have triggers zip-tied to prevent guns from firing.
      • Plastic air-soft guns are permitted with several requirements: No ammunition or projectiles of any kind will be allowed. Air-soft guns must be rendered completely inoperable beforehand, that is the gun shall not have any batteries installed, nor gas/propellant in the chamber and the chamber must be filled with wax or similar material. All air-soft guns must have a clearly visible orange tip on the barrel. All air-soft guns must have their triggers zip-tied to ensure that the gun is incapable of firing.
      • Metal weapons of any kind are forbidden, including hammers, scissors (including “safety scissors”), screwdrivers, saws, chains, nun-chucks, brass knuckles, X-Men-style claws, handcuffs and the like. No “live steel” is allowed, such as metal swords, knifes or blades of any kind. If you have any of these types of weapons with your costume, please make sure they are made out of approved materials.
      • Small, lightweight, metal objects like Sonic Screwdrivers, Lightsaber handles and umbrellas and wooden wands a la “Harry Potter” are allowed, but must not be used as functional weapons. These items will all be subject to weapons check.
      • Costume bows are allowed, insomuch as they are not strung that they cannot shoot projectiles of any kind. All types of bows must have bowstrings removed.
      • Costume swords/daggers made from approved materials are allowed, but may not have any sharp edges. Wooden swords are allowed, but must be tied to your costume in such a way that they cannot be drawn or unsheathed. You must zip-tie swords to their sheaths to ensure that they cannot be drawn. If you wish to draw your sword to pose for a picture, it must be made of approved materials. Metal blades are not allowed, whether they are sheathed or not.
      • No wooden or aluminum/metal bats are permitted. This includes baseball bats, cricket bats, clubs, paddles, golf clubs and similar objects. Bats made from approved materials are allowed.
      • Staffs (staves), similar to those found in “Lord of the Rings,” for instance, will be allowed, insomuch as they are used for walking and/or decoration, and not as a weapon. Wooden staffs are allowed, but must be lightweight and may not have any sharpened edges or tips. Beards are highly recommended for those carrying staffs.
      • Incendiary or flammable weapons are prohibited, including any items that are capable of igniting sparks or flames, burning, exploding or combusting.
      • Do not display your weapons or props in a threatening or menacing manner. (For instance, it’s ok to pose for a picture, but no one should brandish weapons while walking the show floor.)
      • Keep prop weapons in convention areas. If you leave the premises or go out into public for any reason, please put away any and all prop weaponry immediately.

Local Laws

Sec. 708-41. – Deadly or Dangerous Weapons in City Buildings.
(a) No person shall knowingly possess, carry or use a deadly or dangerous weapon within any city building. (Yes, this includes the Duke Energy Convention Center.)
(b) This section shall not apply to the possession, transporting, or carrying of firearms, components of firearms, or firearm ammunition as defined and regulated by Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2923, Conspiracy, Attempt, and Complicity; Weapons Control and Corrupt Activity.
(c) This section does not apply to law enforcement officers authorized to carry firearms and acting within the scope of their duties.
(d) For purposes of this section, “city building” shall include City Hall, any building other than City Hall that is owned by the city or any of its boards or commissions, or any privately owned building that is leased by the city or any of its boards or commissions. The term “city building” shall include but is not limited to any building utilized by the Greater Cincinnati Water Works and the Metropolitan Sewer District.
(e) Whoever violates this section is guilty of having a weapon within a city building, a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(Ordained by Ord. No. 329-2003, eff. Oct. 1, 2003; Emer. Ord. No. 154-2004, eff. April 28, 2004; Emer. Ord. No. 028-2014, § 5, eff. March 5, 2014)

Sec. 708-99. – Penalties.
Violations of the provisions of this chapter shall be punishable as set forth in the sections hereunder and other applicable penalty sections of this code.
(C.M.C. 708-99; ordained by Ord. No. 361-1971, eff. Jan. 1, 1972; repealed and reordained by Ord. No. 448-1988, eff. Nov. 16, 1988)

Sec. 708-99-A. – Violation of Section 708-27.
Whoever violates any provision of Section 708-27 shall be fined not more than $1,000, or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.
(C.O. 718-15; renumbered to C.M.C. 708-99-A, eff. Jan. 1, 1972; a. Ord. No. 128-1988, eff. Apr. 20, 1988; repealed and reordained by Ord. No. 448-1988, eff. Nov. 16, 1988; repealed and reordained by Ord. No. 485-1988, eff. Dec. 14, 1988; a. Ord. No. 374-2000, eff. Nov. 10, 2000; Emer. Ord. No. 028-2014, § 6, eff. March 5, 2014)

Sec. 708-1-D. – Dangerous Weapon.
“Dangerous Weapon” shall mean any instrument, device or thing capable of inflicting death or serious physical injury and designed or specifically adapted for use as a weapon, including an air gun, BB gun, bowie knife, dirk or other device passed, carried or used as a weapon. For purposes of this title, “dangerous weapon” does not include “firearm.”
(Ordained as C.M.C. 708-2 by Ord. No. 201-1980, eff. May 7, 1980; repealed and reordained as C.M.C. 708-1-D by Ord. No. 448-1988, eff. Nov. 16, 1988; Emer. Ord. No. 028-2014, § 2, eff. March 5, 2014)

If you are unwilling to comply with these policies, please leave them at home. Failure to willingly comply with the Cincinnati Comic Expo’s official cosplay rules and weapons policy may result in ejection from the convention (without a refund) and/or potential legal action, if necessary. ***All rules and regulations are subject to change. ***

Cincinnati Comic Expo reserves the right to inspect all costumes and weapons on an individual basis in order to ensure that the event remains completely safe and family-friendly.  Those who violate these rules assume all responsibility in the event of injury.