Ohio is one of only six states that currently prohibits all law-abiding citizens from carrying concealed firearms for personal protection, and does not offer a clear exemption to this prohibition for civilians. And while the law in question has a provision that justifies a "prudent person in going armed," this provision is what is referred to as an "affirmative defense," and can be used only after an individual has been arrested and indicted. Judge Painter commented, "No Ohioan can exercise the constitutional right to bear arms, whether concealed or unconcealed, without risking jail….We know of no other situation where a citizen is guilty until proven innocent." Wednesday’s ruling also found the "prudent person" provision incomprehensible to the ordinary citizen, pointing out that even a seasoned law officer could not determine its true meaning, leaving the law open to arbitrary enforcement.
What this ruling will ultimately mean to law-abiding Ohioans remains to be seen, as the gun-ban lobby formerly known as HCI promises another appeal is in the works. This anti-gun extremist organization, through what it calls the "Brady Center’s Legal Action Project," has been assisting the defendants in the case—which includes Hamilton County, Cincinnati, and the state of Ohio—by acting as co-counsel. The next stop for this case should be the Ohio Supreme Court, and we’ll be sure to keep you abreast of any new developments.