Toledo: Judge mulls dismissing gun activist's city citation

The Toledo Blade is reporting that Toledo Municipal Court Judge Gene Zmuda heard oral arguments yesterday on a motion to dismiss the charge against a Wood County man who was cited for carrying a gun in a city park.

From the story:

    Bruce Beatty, of Luckey, Ohio, was cited April 9 for carrying a firearm in Ottawa Park during a party he hosted to challenge Toledo's prohibition of concealed weapons in city parks.

    He has pleaded not guilty to the minor misdemeanor.

    William Stephenson, a Rudolph, Ohio, attorney who represents Mr. Beatty, argued to Judge Zmuda that the city park rule under which his client was cited conflicts with the state's concealed-carry law.

    He said there are 10 exemptions in the law that allows anyone to carry a gun, but state legislators didn't include public parks.

    "The city is in open defiance of this, your honor," Mr. Stephenson said.

As we and several other news outlets reported, although several (13ABC put the number at five) other people were also carrying their firearms in the park at the time of his arrest, police did not investigate beyond Beatty.

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

Again, from the story:

    John Madigan, the city's general counsel, said the state constitution provides the city with the right to enact laws prohibiting guns through its home-rule powers.

    He said the concealed-carry law was an attempt to circumvent and override local governments' constitutional rights to enact laws for the benefit of residents.

    Mr. Stephenson countered that enacting laws under the home-rule provisions is appropriate as long the regulations don't conflict with state laws. "They are not entitled to rewrite state law," he said.

    Judge Zmuda took the case under advisement, and told the attorneys that he would issue a decision on the motion prior to Mr. Beatty's trial, which he set for Sept. 2.

    After the hearing, Mr. Stephenson predicted that Mr. Beatty ultimately would prevail on the motion.

    "The law is unquestionably on our side. The statute is clear," he said.

This case represents yet another example which makes the case for the necessity of a statewide preemption law to disallow local governments from superceding state firearms laws.

The City of Toledo's abuse of the Second Amendment and the civil and human right of self-defense is well-documented.

After having been on the books for three years, a city ordinance banning the sale and possession of cheap and easily concealed handguns yielded only eight people charged - and only two convicted. All but one of those charges were filed in 2000 (the year the ban was originally passed). Despite these facts, Toledo Mayor Jack Ford, who is currently running for reelection, broke a tie vote in the council to continue the ridiculous ban on inexpensive firearms, which serves only to discriminate against those who cannot afford to pay upwards of $1000 to purchase a gun to protect their loved ones.

Count on the Buckeye Firearms Association to work with the NRA and Representative Jim Aslanides to prohibit cities from enacting their own gun laws - the time for a statewide preemption law in Ohio is now.

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