Ohio Attorney General files merit brief defending constitutionality of statewide preemption law
By Ken Hanson, Esq.
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, via the Solicitor General, filed a strong merit brief on Tuesday May 12 in support of Ohio's "preemption" law, R.C. 9.68.
This law was enacted via HB347, which passed with overwhelming support in December 2006 over Governor Bob Taft's veto. HB347 remains the only veto-override in Ohio in the past three decades. As I noted at the time of the veto override, one of the critical achievements of R.C. 9.68 was to force the burden of litigation back onto the government and away from individuals or groups.
...the law is doing is already working because the burdens are back where they belong - it's on the city to go back and sue the state rather than on a client of mine to come up with the money to force the issue. The burden is back between the state and the cities...
The City of Cleveland v. State of Ohio case, now pending before the Ohio Supreme Court, is the manifestation of that policy working. The City of Cleveland was forced to sue the State of Ohio, and the Supreme Court is now going to be forced to issue a ruling that will decide once and for all whether R.C. 9.68 is valid. If it is valid, than other than ordinances banning the discharge of firearms inside city limits and zoning laws, Ohio cities are out of the gun control business.
The State's brief is very straight-forward and well written, which is an accomplishment given the incredibly bizarre and unfounded decision out of the Appellate Court, in which three appellate judges, all former Cleveland or Cuyahoga County employees, struck down R.C. 9.68.
Despite the bizarre nature of the appellate court ruling, Attorney General Cordray has strongly defended your firearm rights within this brief.
Click here to read the State's brief.
[UPDATE: The National Shooting Sports Foundation has filed an Amicus brief in support of upholding state law. Click here to read the brief.]
[UPDATE #2: The National Rifle Association has filed an Amicus brief in support of upholding state law. Click here to read the brief.]
Ohio Supreme Court Grants Review of Major Gun Rights Case
(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray won review today of a significant gun rights case from the Ohio Supreme Court. Last year, Cordray asked the Supreme Court to review a series of Cleveland firearms ordinances and licensing requirements that are more restrictive than state and federal law. This morning, the court agreed to hear the case.
"I am pleased that the Ohio Supreme Court accepted our appeal and will clarify the rights of Ohio's gun owners. The current uncertainty over the legitimacy of these municipal firearms ordinances creates confusion for our local officials, as well as for thousands of gun owners," said Cordray.
In 2006, the General Assembly extensively revised Ohio’s firearms laws and determined that the state needed one uniform law regulating gun ownership and possession. The legislature therefore prohibited cities and municipalities from enacting additional regulations above those specified in state and federal law.
The city of Cleveland sued the state, claiming that the law violated Cleveland's right to "home rule" under the Ohio Constitution. The Attorney General's Office defended the state's gun law successfully at trial, but the appeals court overturned that ruling. At that point, Attorney General Cordray asked the Ohio Supreme Court to uphold the trial court's ruling. Cordray argues that the Supreme Court should reaffirm the legislature's determination that Ohio's gun owners have basic rights of ownership and possession under state law, which cannot be further restricted by local governments.
"The central question in this case is the validity of a state law designed to protect gun ownership and possession in Ohio," said Cordray. "The General Assembly determined that Ohio should have one comprehensive state law defining the rights of gun owners instead of a patchwork of regulations, and we will continue to defend that decision."
The Ohio Supreme Court is expected to hear oral argument in the fall.