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Ohio’s Supreme Court Upholds Preemption, Shoots Down Cleveland’s Hopes of More Useless Gun Laws

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Ohio Supreme Court made a ruling today upholding Ohio’s preemption law and siding with both the state and the National Rifle Association’s position, as outlined in an amicus brief the organization filed with the Court. The case, The City of Cleveland v. the State of Ohio, stems from the City of Cleveland’s scheme to establish a series of restrictive gun laws despite Ohio law, which clearly prohibits such municipal gun ordinances.

Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, said, “Today’s ruling is a victory for law-abiding Ohioans. This ruling makes clear that preemption is the law in the Buckeye State and a patchwork of gun laws is not acceptable. If Cleveland, or any other city, wants to crack down on violence, city leaders there should focus on prosecuting criminals, not enacting new gun laws that only serve to restrict law-abiding citizens.”

The City of Cleveland filed suit against the State of Ohio in March of 2007, challenging changes to Ohio state gun laws that effectively preempted all municipal ordinances as to possession and concealed carry of handguns. Cleveland’s city council passed a never-ending stream of useless and burdensome ordinances -- including forced registrations and bans on both open carry and semi-automatic firearms -- that only impacted the law-abiding. The city filed suit to try to preserve its ability to impose these restrictions. The Court found that the state law in no way violates Cleveland’s home rule powers under the Ohio Constitution, as those powers are still subordinate to matters of general concern within the state.

The National Rifle Association immediately moved to intervene but was rebuffed by the trial court and again at the mid-appellate level. The trial court ruled for the state, but the court of appeals reversed and ruled for Cleveland. The NRA, along with Ohioans for Concealed Carry, filed an amicus brief with the Ohio State Supreme Court in support of the state’s ability to make firearm laws of general concern, and thus effectively preempt municipalities from creating a patchwork of gun laws throughout the state.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.