Judge denies cities' request to block statewide preemption enhancements

Anti-gun rights forces weren't happy with ANY of the changes to Ohio law passed via HB 228 in late 2018, but they decided that one in particular was worth spending tax-payer dollars to sue over - an improvement to the statewide preemption law which gave individuals and groups the ability to seek remedy through the courts when the law was violated.

The change in the law was necessary because many cities had been ignoring the preemption law, originally passed as a part of HB 347 back in 2006.

While the rest of HB 228 took effect last March, this one section of law was scheduled to take effect on December 28, in order to give entities ample time to repeal codes that are in conflict with state law.

Recognizing that their preempted laws might now cost them money in court, a number of cities finally obeyed state law and changed their ordinances before the deadline (including Port Clinton, Lima, and Oberlin, among others).

Meanwhile, the cities of Akron, Barberton, Cleveland, Cuyahoga Falls, Norton and Tallmadge joined together to challenge the law in court. While the lawsuit is still to be heard, an attempt to block the law from taking effect has failed.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Summit County Common Pleas Judge Alison McCarty has denied a request from Akron, Cleveland and four other Northeast Ohio cities to block a controversial provision of the state’s gun laws from going into effect.

In an order issued Dec. 27, McCarty wrote that the cities did not present convincing evidence that they would prevail in their legal challenge of the provision, which restricts communities from regulating the possession, sale and manufacture of firearms and ammunition.

She also wrote that the cities did not demonstrate that they would suffer irreparable harm by having the law go into effect and that making exceptions only for the six cities involved in the lawsuit could lead to confusion across the state.


In her order, McCarty noted the Ohio Supreme Court previously ruled that just because the legislature seeks to preempt local law does not automatically conflict with home-rule authority.

As noted earlier, the judge did NOT rule on the merits of the case itself. Buckeye Firearms Association will continue to monitor the case, and two others like it, brought by Cincinnati and Columbus, and provide updates as events unfold.

Chad D. Baus served as Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary from 2013-2019. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website, and is also an NRA-certified firearms instructor.

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