Ohioans For Concealed Carry Sues City of Clyde Over Concealed Handgun Ban
Self-Defense Advocacy Group Says City Ordinance Unconstitutional
CLEVELAND - Ohioans For Concealed Carry, the state's largest grassroots organization working to reform, defend and enforce Ohio's self-defense laws, announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against the City of Clyde in the Sandusky County Court of Common Pleas against the City of Clyde and each individual elected and appointed city official, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.
Earlier this year, without any evidence of the need for such an ordinance being presented to council, Clyde's City Council passed an ordinance attempting to restrict the lawful carrying of concealed handguns by those licensed by the State of Ohio. Despite Clyde having been repeatedly warned that their ordinance is unconstitutional, they have refused to amend their ordinance to comply with state law on the issue of home rule conflicting with state law.
In a final warning letter mailed to the City of Clyde and certain other municipalities last month, Attorney Ken Hanson, Chair of OFCC's litigation section, detailed why the ordinances are unconstitutional.
"There has been a lot of bad information floating around, particularly with regard to so-called 'home rule' powers," Hanson explained. "This is not unexpected in the first ninety days of a new law. The purpose of the letters was to lay out in black and white exactly why the ordinances are unconstitutional, and to give each letter recipient a last chance to avoid being sued over the offending ordinance."
In researching local ordinances for the pending litigation, OFCC learned that many media accounts of local ordinances were inaccurate. Several cities' officials, including those in Toledo and Columbus, have made misleading public statements about bans, and even posted signs on public property, without passing any new ordinance and apparently without any intention of enforcement.
On the other hand, some municipalities, including Clyde and Arcanum, were found to have ordinances that clearly attempted to restrict concealed carry and expressed intent to have the police enforce the ban, in violation of applicable law.
"After receiving our letter, the Village of Arcanum reviewed the law and modified its ordinance to mirror state law. The City of Clyde, on the other hand, has refused to address the problem, and will not even respond to letters, emails or phone calls on the issues," said Jeff Garvas, president of Ohioans For Concealed Carry. "On August 4, City Manager Dan Weaver was quoted by the Fremont News Messenger saying 'Let a judge make the decision if that's what it comes to.' OFCC will accommodate Mr. Weaver's request."
The City of Clyde has offered no demonstration whatsoever that there is a need for the ordinance, which is written to target concealed handgun license-holders. No municipality has any facts or research to indicate that law-abiding, licensed gun owners pose any threat or danger, nor has any history of problems in other states been identified.
"It is incumbent upon those who would render citizens in secluded parks and jogging trails defenseless to offer proof that concealed handgun license-holders are causing problems," said Chad Baus, spokesman for OFCC. "As the law now reads, they have absolutely no authority to do what they've done, and comments attributed to Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro indicate his office agrees that license holders are allowed to carry in parks, and that municipalities may not interfere with this, or any other lawful carry by a license-holder."
"OFCC has patiently attempted to inform local officials, via written correspondence, that what they've done is unconstitutional. It just seems that Clyde hasn't listened to anything they've been told so far," observed attorney Hanson. "I laid out my arguments in plenty of time for them to avoid the necessity of the lawsuit, and they refused to even acknowledge receipt of the letter. So now we are in court and we will now see if The Emperor has any clothes."
In addition to the relief being sought, OFCC will seek reimbursement for attorney's fees and court costs from the city as well.
"The law on that subject is pretty clear," said Hanson. "If a defendant is being stubborn and ignoring their official duties, there is liability for costs and attorney fees from the resulting needless litigation."
"These laws cannot be allowed to continue on the books," Garvas remarked. "If a municipality chooses to ignore Ohio law, then the taxpayers of that community will bear the financial burden of their elected officials' stubbornness."
Click here to donate to OFCC's Ohio Concealed Carry Law Defense Fund.