Another city nullifies gun ban under statewide preemption; City of Cleveland still in violation of the law

By Chad D. Baus

Even as the City of Cleveland continues to enforce its local gun control laws and waste tax payer money to fight state law prohibiting same in court, the City of Newark, OH is taking another route entirely at a council meeting to be held tonight.

Ohio R.C 9.68 - which became law in 2007 with passage of HB347 - preempts local gun control and ensure statewide uniformity of gun laws. When it became state law, Mayor Frank Jackson and the City of Cleveland decided to challenge the law in court, and continue to enforce its illegal gun control ordinances despite assurances to the contrary.

Other cities and municipalities still have ordinances on the books, but announced after the state law passed that they would no longer be enforced.

Much as the City of New Phildelphia did last fall, the Newark city council is finally considering removing its preempted ordinances at the urging of Law Director Doug Sassen.

From a story in The Newark Advocate, entitled "Law director: State law allows guns in parks":

Newark City Council likely won't be having much of a debate about the merits of allowing guns in city parks.

Law Director Doug Sassen told the council Monday that the city will not be able to enforce a prohibition against guns in the parks because it conflicts with state law.

"I guess I would say the time for philosophical debate has passed. We have an absolute obligation on our part to bring our ordinance into compliance with the Ohio Revised Code," Sassen said. "To not support (the change) puts the city in legal jeopardy."

Sassen said the current prohibition is in violation of state law and will have to be removed.

According to the story, the issue arose a couple of weeks ago when the park rules and regulations were brought to the recreation committee to be updated. Councilman Jeff Rath said he opposed limiting the use of guns in the parks and proposed an amendment allowing individuals with a concealed-carry permit to bring them into the parks.

That amendment will have to be expanded at tonight's meeting to bring Newark's regulations into compliance with state law.

Again, from the story:

Mayor Bob Diebold also encouraged council to follow state law, although it gives him an "uneasy" feeling.

"Let's just get this over with and get it done is all I can say," Diebold said.

Councilwoman Shirley Stare questioned why concealed-carry-permit holders were allowed to bring guns into parks when they are banned from City Hall or school buildings, but Sassen said the Ohio Revised Code has a very specific list of places guns are not allowed and parks are not on the list.

A recent Supreme Court ruling upheld the right of concealed-carry permit holders to bring guns to parks, since parks are not on the list, Sassen said.

"The state law in this case, not in every case, but in this case ... trumps local law," Sassen said.

Related Story:
Cleveland refuses to obey state law ... refuses to obey the courts ... and spits on the Constitution. And we're fighting back!

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