Clyde case yields first protections for gun owners
On September 18, 2008 the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that R.C. 9.68 is valid, and that municipalities may not infringe on the broad statutory and constitutional right to carry firearms. Within a few days, this opinion saw application in courtrooms around the state.
Readers of this website are familiar with the story of Damon Wells, the young man in Cleveland who shot at thugs in self-defense last year, killing one. Subsequently, his house was vandalized by people mourning the thugs and his life has generally been turned upside down. Regina Brett with the Cleveland Plain Dealer did a nice series on the incident and the aftermath.
Unfortunately, the City of Cleveland is among those determined to make Damon’s life a continuing series of aggravations. After the thugs’ trial, Damon had to fight with Cleveland to obtain return of his gun. It was only through volunteer efforts of Buckeye Firearms Association that the Court eventually ordered Cleveland to return Damon’s gun. To add further insult to injury, the City of Cleveland recently charged Damon with possession of an unregistered handgun as a result of a traffic stop on a car in which he was a passenger.
You aren’t misreading. Damon, who has a CHL and who the Court ordered Cleveland to return a gun to, has been charged with possession of an unregistered handgun under Cleveland’s ordinances.
“But I thought cities couldn’t require registration of a CHL’s handgun?” You are right, and Cleveland knows this. Cleveland filed not one but two different amicus briefs in the Clyde case, urging the Supreme Court to rule against gun owners so that Cleveland could continue to enforce local gun laws. Additionally, Cleveland filed a separate lawsuit against Ohio, seeking to have R.C. 9.68 thrown out, so that Cleveland could continue to enforce local gun laws.
So, literally after the Ohio Supreme Court has heard arguments and is pending issuing their opinion, the smart thing to do might be to wait until the Court determines the case, right? Wrong. Cleveland instead has chosen to bring charges against Damon and several other gun owners instead of waiting. Place your own citizens in criminal jeopardy by charging them when the Supreme Court might be only days away from ruling on the enforceability of your ordinances? Cleveland’s arrogance knows no limits.
Attorney Ken Hanson has filed a motion to dismiss the charges on behalf of Damon, as well as asking for attorney fees and court costs for the willful violation of R.C. 9.68, the award of which is mandatory under the statute. It is anticipated that the ruling on this motion also will finally terminate Cleveland’s attempts at local gun control.
The truth about Cleveland’s “Assault Weapon Ban”: Part I