30 December 2010

Ohio Victory As Supreme Court Rules On CCW/Home Rule Suit

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled yesterday in a 5-2 decision that the general law putting the responsibility for all firearms regulations into the hands of state lawmakers does not violate Ohio's home rule law.

Many newspapers have concluded through editorials and coverage (not all, just pretty much those in large urban areas, however) that cities -- again -- are being told they don't have a voice. They do. Its just that state general laws in Ohio have no bearing on home rule. The law was never a pre-emption bill, though anti-gun advocates and even some pro-gun organizations called it such. There is a clear difference, which is why The Ready Line years ago referred to the legislation as "a general law." Because it has meaning and legal definition. In fact, the opinion itself refers to the state's "general law." Lawmakers chose that language for a very specific reason.

Interestingly, some headlines say that state law trumps local law. No, that's not true. The reality is that the cities are not permitted to trump state law. To say otherwise is intellectually dishonest.

The implications? City officials in various pockets of the Buckeye State that want to enact bans on competition rifles and to restrict where law-abiding CCW license holders can take their sidearms cannot do so. The reality, which most thinking people and lawmakers realize, is that the nit-picky laws that had been passed in the past by these little city-states were really about control, and not about crime reduction. The Supreme Court looked solely at general laws vs. home rule. And found the argument being made by the cities to be wanting.

This, for now, pretty much ends the push by large municipalities to up-end CCW laws and restrict the right to own various rifles and other firearms for all lawful purposes. The city of Cleveland filed the case, with Columbus and other 'burgs closely watching and lending quite vocal support.

I've got to say something else, too. Richard Cordray, a democrat who lost his re-election bid as Ohio attorney general to former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, called the ruling a victory for every gun owner in Ohio. My hat is off to the gentleman. I have always been suspicious of Mr. Cordray, for he wasn't a supporter of firearms rights some 15 or so years ago. Quite the opposite. He was a vocal opponent of private ownership of competition rifles, among other firearms. But he has truly come around. Become enlightened even. Thank you for the strong words Mr. Cordray. Now if only the man who won in November has the same feeling. Mr. DeWine has long been an anti-gun republican -- in fact is the only republican U.S. senator to ever receive an endorsement from the anti self defense advocates at the Brady Campaign.


Back to the ruling. Guess what? There won't be blood in the streets as a result of this very thoughtful decision by Ohio's high court. Because it was never about crime control. It was about politics from the beginning.

More coverage here:
Cleveland Plain Dealer
New York Times
Buckeye Firearms Association

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