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New Cincinnati/Hamilton County Lawsuit Filed to Allow Carrying of Firearms for Self-Protection

Monday, October 15th, 2001

The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) will file a new lawsuit to overturn the unconstitutional laws that bar self-defense through legal concealed carry of firearms by law-abiding adults on Tuesday, October 16th. The new lawsuit features new plaintiffs but is otherwise identical to the original Cincinnati lawsuit that initially won a temporary injunction but has since stalled in the Ohio Supreme Court on minor procedural issues.

“The current law is unconstitutional. It is long past time to present our case before a fair and impartial judge to have it tossed out,” proclaimed Dave LaCourse, SAF Public Affairs Director. “We hoped our original Cincinnati lawsuit could go forward to resolve this issue by now, but our opponents have kept us in procedural appeals for over a year. Hopefully this new suit will be heard on the merits, rather than needlessly delayed in endless technical motions.”

Plaintiffs include Pat Feely, who was previously arrested and tried under the gun carry ban scheme. Both the prosecutor and the judge in that case stated that the law should be changed or repealed. While Feely was acquitted at trial, he could face the same charges again if found carrying a concealed firearm in the future. The threat and costs of repeated prosecutions is another reason for declaring the current law unconstitutional.

Mr. Feely is returning to a job where he will carry large sums of cash again as part of his employment, and this job change prompted this new lawsuit. Other plaintiffs include: Ohioans for Concealed Carry, People’s Rights Organization and the Second Amendment Foundation on behalf of their members in Hamilton County.

SAF’s new suit exposes the current scheme as a violation of the Ohio Constitution (Article 1, Section 1 [inalienable rights to defending life, liberty and property], Article 1, Section 4 [bear arms for defense and security], Article 1, Section 2 [equal protection] and Article 1, Section 16 [due process]). In addition, as Judge Ruehlman found in the original suit in Cincinnati, the current law treats people as if guilty until proven innocent!

The Ohio laws in question, R.C. 2923.12, bans all concealed carry of firearms with felony penalties for any violations while R.C. 2923.16 bans loaded guns in a motor vehicle. Only after a person is caught violating either of these provisions, and the person incurs the costs and stresses of a criminal trial, does the current law allow the possibility of an “affirmative defense” to be made. Such an unjust system must be replaced with reasonable and prudent legislation, and that is the reason for the lawsuit.

If a temporary injunction is issued, this does NOT mean that criminals, juveniles and other prohibited persons could carry firearms since many gun laws will remain enforceable. If there are any questions about this fact, please call either of the numbers above, or visit our website at http://www.saf.org/Ohio.htm