Attorney General Jim Petro Defends Concealed Carry Law

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Columbus - Attorney General Jim Petro filed a legal brief defending the constitutionality of Ohio's concealed carry law against a challenge by the city of Toledo.

"We believe the concealed carry law is an issue of statewide concern and prevents cities from enacting bans because statewide law supercedes local laws," said Attorney General Jim Petro.

Petro filed a friend of the court brief in the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Appellate District (Lucas County) in the case of City of Toledo v. Beatty. This case involves an appeal of the conviction of a concealed handgun license holder for carrying a concealed handgun in a Toledo park in violation of a local ordinance. Petro argued that the Ohio concealed handgun licensing law is a general law, and is constitutional in its entirety.

Earlier this year, Petro intervened in 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.

That case stemmed 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.

Petro said, "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."

"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," said Petro.

The Attorney General's Office stated H.B. 12 as a whole regulates the licensing and carrying of a concealed 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 has not only defended the constitutionality of Ohio's concealed carry law, but his office has helped carry out the many provisions of the law, resulting in Ohio sheriffs issuing nearly 64,000 regular licenses to carry concealed weapons. Petro's office also has answered thousands of questions from citizens and from law enforcement, created and maintained new publications, a Web site and electronic databases required by the statute; processed criminal background checks; and organized training and assistance to sheriffs to help fulfill obligations under the law. Petro has formalized reciprocity agreements with 16 other states.

To download a copy of Attorney General Petro's Amicus Brief in .pdf format, CLICK HERE.

To download a copy of Attorney General Petro's Motion for Leave in .pdf format, CLICK HERE.

Related Story:
Toledo gun-rights activist convicted after CCW in city park

City of Toledo hangs ''park-ban hat'' on vague park rules ordinance

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