Officials stick to their ... er, guns

July 31, 2004
Elyria Chronicle-Telegram

ELYRIA — City officials aren’t ready to give up the fight to ban guns in city parks despite threats by a gun advocacy group to file a lawsuit to force it to drop the ban.
But a change is needed, according to Law Director Terry “Pete” Shilling, to limit the scope of the ban.

Shilling said he will recommend amending the ordinance approved earlier this year that bans weapons on all city lands when the Council’s Safety Committee meets on Monday. Shilling said the revision would prohibit weapons “in all buildings, structures and lands within parks owned and controlled by the City of Elyria.”

The current ordinance bans weapons on “all lands owned and controlled by the city,” Shilling said, which effectively banned weapons in parks as well as on sidewalks and city streets.

Click on the "Read More..." link below for more.

When the state’s new concealed-weapons law went into effect earlier this year, the law already prohibited weapons from being carried into government-owned buildings and allowed privately owned buildings and businesses to adopt their own rules.

Some cities, like Elyria, went a step further banning weapons on all city-owned property or in city-owned parks.

Arcanum, a city about 35 miles northwest of Dayton, recently changed its ordinance banning concealed weapons in parks after gun supporters challenged the law.

Elyria has seen its fair share of Ohioans for Concealed Carry at recent Council and committee meetings, but it isn’t changing Shilling’s mind.

“Only a total repeal would satisfy them,” Shilling said. “I don’t agree with that.”
Shilling said he recently returned from a seminar of the Ohio Municipal Attorneys Association, where the concealed carry issue came up.

“Home rule really applies in this situation,” Shilling said. “Under the Ohio Constitution Article 18, cities and villages have the right to adopt a charter as their main governing document.”

And Elyria’s charter will ban weapons in city parks.

Shilling said he would not be surprised if Ohioans for Concealed Carry brought a lawsuit against the city.

“It’s their prerogative,” he said.

Jim Irvine, a spokesman for the gun advocacy group, said that’s exactly what will happen if the city doesn’t completely eliminate the park ban.

“If they don’t rescind it, a lawsuit will follow, and the city will be forced to spend its money,” he said. “It’s not a gray area.”
Irvine said the state’s concealed carry law prevents any municipality from expanding the prohibitions on where a concealed weapon can be carried.

The issue will go before Council’s safety committee Monday but will not go before Council until a later date.

Related Stories:
One more down: Arcanum's gun ban changed after scrutiny

OH Attorney General's office: ''Local ordinances [banning CCW] are NOT VALID''

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