A recent decision by the Ohio Supreme Court, slapping the hands of local governments trying to enforce restrictive anti-firearms ordinances, is the latest in a string of judicial decisions protecting our rights secured by the Second Amendment.
Over the last few years at the national level, we have witnessed court rulings that have begun to restore the Second Amendment to the original intent of the Founding Fathers. In 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Heller that the Second Amendment did in fact protect the individual right to keep and bear arms; as opposed to the so-called “collective right” preferred by gun control advocates. And just last year in McDonald v. Chicago, the Court incorporated that right to the states.
Now, the top court in Ohio has placed another roadblock in the path of gun control advocates; striking down local gun laws enacted by municipalities that are more restrictive than those enacted by the state legislature. The state law preempting restrictive local laws passed in 2006 in order to provide a common set of standards for gun ownership for all Ohioans.
Undeterred by the plain language and clear intent of the state law, however, the City of Cleveland had enacted laws that required registration of handguns and banned so-called “assault rifles” – both restrictions not applicable at the state level. City leaders claimed that these onerous regulations were “right” for them and therefore trumped the state law. Ohio’s high court disagreed.
The opinion, authored by Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, noted that if the state preemption law was not enforced, “law-abiding gun owners would face a confusing patchwork of licensing requirements, possession restrictions and criminal penalties as they travel from one jurisdiction to another.” In other words if you lived in the suburbs of Cleveland and had to travel into the city, despite protections you enjoy as a citizen of Ohio, these rights would be curtailed as you crossed the city limits.
Hopefully, in other cities around the country where anti-firearms officials try to disarm the citizens by enacting and enforcing gun control laws more restrictive than elsewhere in the state, challenges will be mounted and will result in constitutionally-sound decisions such as this one in Ohio.
- by Bob Barr, The Barr Code