Ohio Court Strikes Down Concealed Carry Ban

July 7, 2008 - 7:03 PM

(CNSNews.com) - An Ohio appeals court Wednesday agreed with a lower court that a state ban on carrying concealed weapons is unconstitutional.

For many years, Ohio law has barred people from carrying concealed weapons and from having a loaded gun in their vehicles. The lawsuit challenging the concealed carry ban was filed by five people who said it violated their right to self-defense.

The Second Amendment Foundation, a gun rights group and one of the plaintiffs in the case, said the ruling was "a total vindication of our position."

"The ruling puts pressure on the legislature to resolve this issue. Lawmakers have known for a long time there was a problem with the law, but it took a legal challenge by gun owners to put this issue in focus,' said Dave LaCourse, a spokesman for the Second Amendment Foundation.

Defendants in the case, which included, Hamilton County, Ohio and the state of Ohio, argued that the government has the right to regulate how weapons are carried.

LaCourse added, "While this ruling still applies to enforcement of the law in Hamilton County, judges everywhere else around the state will be looking at this and reviewing their cases."

Last January, Hamilton County Judge Robert Ruehlman said the ban could not be enforced in that county.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence criticized the ruling. The group said it would work with the defendants to appeal the decision to the Ohio Supreme Court.

"For over 100 years, Ohio law has prohibited the carrying of hidden handguns, unless an individual can prove a compelling need to carry a concealed weapon for valid self-defense purposes," said Dennis Henigan, Director of the Brady Center's Legal Action Project.

"This panel's ruling runs counter to common sense and to the wishes of Ohio police and the Ohio legislature. This decision is bad law and bad policy.

"It not only places Cincinnati law enforcement at risk, it endangers the lives of ordinary citizens. Until now, Ohio courts have consistently recognized the right of the legislature to protect public safety by generally prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons," said Henigan.

"Without restrictions on carrying concealed weapons, the hands of law enforcement would be tied when anyone allowed to possess a gun in Ohio carries that weapon anywhere -- to church, to bars, to recreation centers, or to a baseball game," Henigan said.

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