Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ohio gun-control law constitutional

The Ohio Supreme Court this morning upheld a state law on handguns enacted in 2006 that provides that only federal or state regulations can limit an Ohioan's individual right to bear arms, saying ORC § 9.68, which displaces all local gun-control ordinances previously adopted by Ohio municipalities, does not infringe on the "home rule" powers of those municipalities under the Ohio Constitution and does not violate the separation of powers doctrine. [ Cleveland v. State, opinion and Court's summary ]

The City of Cleveland had sought a declaratory judgment against the state in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas challenging the constitutionality of R.C. 9.68 under the Home Rule Amendment to the Ohio Constitution, the Court’s summary relates. That amendment, contained in Article XVIII, Section 3, provides that municipalities within the state have the inherent authority to exercise all powers of local self-government and to adopt and enforce within their borders local police regulations to protect the safety and health of city residents, so long as such regulations do not conflict with "general laws" of the state.

"The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the state, citing the Supreme Court of Ohio's 2008 decision in Ohioans for Concealed Carry v. Clyde, in which the Court had held that a Clyde city ordinance prohibiting the concealed carry of weapons in city parks was void and unenforceable because it was in conflict with the uniform statewide guidelines for concealed carry that had been adopted by the General Assembly as part of Sub. H.B. 347.

"The city appealed, and on review, the 8th District Court of Appeals held that R.C. 9.68 was unconstitutional because it violated both the Home Rule Amendment and the separation of powers doctrine. The court of appeals remanded the case to the trial court with a directive to enter summary judgment in favor of Cleveland. In its decision, the 8th District specifically found that R.C. 9.68 was not a "general law" under a four-part test set forth in the Supreme Court of Ohio’s 2002 decision in Canton v. State. The state then sought and was granted Supreme Court review of the 8th District’s decision."

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