Attorney General Jim Petro Defends Concealed Carry Law

Monday, May 2, 2005
CONTACT: Attorney General’s Office

COLUMBUS - Attorney General Jim Petro today defended the constitutionality of Ohio's concealed carry law against a challenge by the City of Clyde in Sandusky County. Petro intervened in the case, Ohioans For Concealed Carry, Inc. v City of Clyde, in the Sandusky County Court of Common Pleas, arguing Ohio's concealed carry law is constitutional.

The case stems from a challenge by Ohioans for Concealed Carry against an ordinance adopted by the City of Clyde in Sandusky County on May 18, 2004. The ordinance sought to place an additional restriction on the carrying of a concealed weapon in its city parks. Petro says this restriction is not contained in H.B. 12 (Ohio’s Concealed Carry law).

The City of Clyde defended its ordinance as a proper exercise of its home rule powers in Ohio, and challenges the State’s authority to enact concealed carry law that precludes regulation by local governments.

“We believe the Concealed Carry law is an issue of statewide concern that, much like a boating license, is a general law that would supercede this ordinance,” said Attorney General Jim Petro.

In the brief Petro argued, “If boat and trailer park licenses are matters of statewide concern in which state law prevents municipalities from enacting regulations because that regulation would necessarily conflict with the state regulatory scheme, then so too is Concealed Carry.”

Petro stated, “The licensing and carrying of a concealed handgun can be effectively addressed only through statewide regulation. The mobility of today's society accentuates the need for uniform regulation throughout the State of Ohio. Otherwise, licensed citizens would not be capable of carrying at all, because he or she would have to be aware of multiple, piecemeal regulations throughout the state. Concealed Carry should be legislated uniformly throughout the State as a matter of statewide concern.”

The Attorney General's Office stated H.B. 12 as a whole regulates the licensing and carrying of a handgun throughout the State of Ohio. For example, H.B. 12 . (R.C. 2923.125) creates a standard license to carry a concealed handgun in Ohio, and creates requirements that must be submitted to the sheriff of the county in which the person resides or the sheriff of any county adjacent to the county. Petro said H.B. 12’s sole purpose is not to limit municipal authority. When Section 9 is read with H.B. 12 as a whole, as directed by the Ohio Supreme Court, the Concealed Carry law sets forth a statewide comprehensive scheme of regulations regarding concealed carry.

Petro's office has helped carry out the many provisions of the law resulting in Ohio sheriffs issuing 45,497 regular licenses to carry concealed weapons, answered thousands of questions from citizens and from law enforcement, created and maintained new publications, a Web site, electronic databases required by the statute, processed criminal background checks, training and assistance to sheriffs to help fulfill obligations under the law. Petro has formalized reciprocity agreements with 16 other states.

Click here to download and read the entire brief in .pdf format.

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Suit seeks the beginning of the end for local gun ordinances

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