Judge Eugene Lucci for 11th District Court of Appeal

By Jim Irvine

Few offices are as important as judicial offices, and few candidates are as hard to cast informed votes about as the judicial candidates. The appeals courts are particularly important. They can overrule a lower court, but more importantly they set a precedent the lower court must follow. They can only be overruled by the Ohio Supreme Court, and most cases never reach that court.

Buckeye Firearms Association has endorsed Eugene Lucci for the 11th District Court of Appeals. We do not make a lot of judicial endorsements, but when we do, it's critical that gun owners support our endorsed candidates.

Divorce is often an ugly situation with no real "winners." Child custody and terms of a joint custody arrangement can be difficult for all involved. Making a "fair" ruling can difficult, but sometimes there is a ruling that is clearly "wrong." Imagine how it would feel if a court ruled that you "should not have any firearms on his person during the time when the minor child is with him."

This is from an actual ruling in Eggleston vs. Eggleston (CASE NO. 2006-T-0023).

It is important to note that the above egregious ruling did not result from a criminal charge against the father, but rather just a change in the rules for a father to be with his child.

Imagine your reaction if your ex-wife reneged on your divorce settlement of joint custody, moved out of the area and then stripped you of your share of custody by asserting that you were not fit to be a custodian and caretaker of your own child because of a "fascination with weapons and his winemaking hobby. She believed that appellant's winemaking hobby, and the fact that he hunted, would take time away from the minor child." (Emphasis added)

Anyone can get a bad judge, but if you appealed a flawed ruling and the appeals court upheld that ruling you are about out of good options. This illustrates why this race is so important.

In the case at hand, Eugene Lucci's opponent Judge O'Toole writing for the majority upheld the anti-gun ruling stating:

{¶50} In his third assignment of error, appellant alleges that the trial court violated his constitutional rights under the Ohio Constitution, Article I, Section 4, by ordering a restriction on his possession of firearms. He stresses that there was no evidence to show that his gun collecting and possession of firearms endangered the health, safety, or welfare of the minor child.

{¶51} We agree that Article I, Section 4, of the Ohio Constitution "confers upon the people of Ohio the fundamental right to bear arms." Arnold v. Cleveland (1993), 67 Ohio St.3d 35, 46. However, we observe that the Supreme Court of Ohio has specifically stated that "the right to bear arms is not an unlimited right and is subject to reasonable regulation. ***" Id. at 47.

{¶52} In the instant matter, the record establishes that the trial court ordered appellant to limit his display of firearms around or in the sight of the minor child. The trial court in no manner ordered appellant to discard his guns, restrained his individual use of his firearms, or ruled that he could not have any guns. The trial court merely considered the minor child’s best interest with respect to his safety, due to the incident where appellant's pistol was knocked out of his holster while the minor child was playing around.

Judge Lucci is a gun owner and a shooter. He understands us because he is one of us. And while it would be presumptuous to suggest how Lucci would have ruled, I find it hard to believe that anyone who understands firearms would rule that a father with a good job and no criminal history should lose custody of his children because of a "fascination with weapons." I find it disgusting that anyone would uphold a ruling that a concealed carry license holder is not permitted to have a gun to defend his life, or even worse, that of his minor child. Child's best interest be damned!

We must replace a bad appeals judge with Eugene Lucci. If you live in Lake, Trumbull, Portage, Ashtabula, or Geauga counties, please vote for Eugene Lucci for 11th District Court of Appeals.

Jim Irvine is the Buckeye Firearms Association Chairman, and a father of four.

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