Ohio Supreme Court won't hear Beatty appeal

The Toledo Blade is reporting that the Ohio Supreme Court voted 5-2 (Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton and Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger dissenting) against hearing the appeal of Bruce Beatty, who was convicted of carrying a concealed handgun into Toledo's Ottawa Park in protest of a city ordinance.

From the story:

    The move upholds lower-court rulings that Toledo's prohibition on firearms in public recreation areas did not conflict with the state's concealed-carry law at the time Bruce Beatty was ticketed on April 9, 2005.

    Although Mr. Beatty's conviction will stand, the larger issue is probably now moot. The Ohio General Assembly late last year passed a new concealed-carry law that forbids cities from enforcing local gun laws considered more restrictive than state or federal law.

    The state's law does not include public parks among government buildings, schools, and other places where guns are off limits.

Beatty told the Toledo Free Press he would pay the City of Toledo the fine and court costs resulting from the citation, which he estimated would be $96.

Click on 'Read More' for more.

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

In its coverage of the ruling, OFCC Inc. notes that its case, Ohioans For Concealed Carry v. Clyde, sits in the Sixth District Court and could open a door for that organization to challenge that court's previous ruling in the Beatty case.

Every single law that is on the books on March 13, 2007 will still be on the books March 14, 2007, when HB347 becomes 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, after March 14, 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 some contemplate fighting the Ohio Attorney General over the constitutionality of HB347. If they don't, 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 if the city sues
preemptively over the legality of HB347's statewide preemption provision, they can still be sued by any citizen in Ohio.

Related Stories:
Ohio's Own Silly District Court

Toledo gun-rights activist convicted after CCW in city park

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