Case information: City of Cleveland v. Ohio, No. CV-09-092663 (Ohio Ct. App., submitted Mar. 24, 2009)
At issue: Challenging Ohio’s concealed carry law. In 2006, Ohio adopted a statute that created the state’s concealed firearms licensing system. This legislation included a statement, arguably a substantive provision, purporting to preempt local ordinances that regulate or prohibit the carrying of concealed firearms. The City of Cleveland filed suit against the state, alleging that the provision runs afoul of the Home Rule Amendment to the Ohio Constitution, which expressly grants to municipalities the authority to adopt and enforce police regulations that do not “conflict” with the general law of Ohio. The city seeks a declaratory judgment finding that this provision contravenes the Home Rule Amendment because it precludes the local regulation of firearms in the absence of a conflicting general law.
Law Center’s Brief: Our brief, joined by several Ohio cities, the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, and other national gun violence prevention groups, supports the city of Cleveland. The brief argues that the Home Rule Amendment gives Cleveland the power to enact local gun ordinances because the state concealed weapon licensing law acts only to limit a municipality’s constitutional police power and is thus unconstitutional. Moreover, the brief contends that firearms rules must reflect the needs of local residents and that, therefore, striking down Cleveland’s firearms regulations would jeopardize the safety of Cleveland’s residents.