Ohio Supreme Court refuses to reconsider Beatty appeal

The Toledo Blade is reporting that the Ohio Supreme Court has refused to reconsider its prior decision not to hear a challenge to the city of Toledo’s authority to prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns in its parks.

From the story:

    The court refused a second time by a vote of 5-2 [Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton and Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger dissenting] to hear an appeal sought by Bruce Beatty after he was convicted of carrying a holstered and loaded 45-caliber handgun into West Toledo’s Ottawa Park in open defiance of the city ordinance.

    The larger issue may have been rendered moot earlier this month when a new state law went into effect to prohibit local governments from enforcing gun laws considered stricter than federal or state law. Ohio’s concealed carry law does not include public parks among the locations where guns are prohibited.

    The Supreme Court, however, may eventually have to deal with the question of whether the new law unconstitutionally restricts local governments’ home-rule authority to enact their own gun laws. The city of Cleveland recently filed a challenge to the law in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

While the impact of the Supreme Court's decision not to act was diminished by passage of HB347's statewide preemption provision, the fact is that there are still local laws on the books that are more restrictive than state law.

Click on 'Read More' for more.

While the intent of the law is that firearms laws be the same throughout the Buckeye state, that does not mean that any cities have repealed their firearm restrictions. Until they do, or court cases set a clear precedent, caution is advised. Every single law that is on the books on March 13, 2007 is still on the books now that HB347 has become active. The only thing that will change that is:

1.) A court ruling striking down the ordinance, or
2.) The municipality rescinding the ordinance.

Thus, if a municipality has an ordinance, and a person is prosecuted under it, they would become a test case and get to argue the legality of the ordinance against the backdrop of HB347's statewide preemption statute.

The attorney fee provision contained in HB347 should encourage the municipalities to rescind the ordinances, even as the Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson seeks to fight the Ohio Attorney General over the constitutionality of HB347. If cities do not rescind their illegal gun laws, then they can face innumerable lawsuits, 1 or 100, over the legality of their ordinance, and they get to pay attorney fees and costs in each suit. Even though a city (such as Cleveland) sues
preemptively over the legality of HB347's statewide preemption provision, they can still be sued by any citizen in Ohio.

Related Stories:
Go-it-alone: Financially-challenged City of Cleveland sues over preemption

Cleveland police union to NRANews: We won’t enforce illegal laws

Ohio Supreme Court won't hear Beatty appeal

Ohio's Own Silly District Court

Toledo gun-rights activist convicted after CCW in city park

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