Cleveland, Ohio is a good example of the dueling battle between local control and state control over gun laws. House Bill 347, passed in 2006 after overriding the governor’s veto, required all gun rights in Ohio be uniform across the state. This meant that any ordinance passed by local cities or townships would be invalid.
Cleveland fought against passage of House Bill 347, arguing that the bill infringed on home rule authority. In Cleveland v. State, 128 Ohio St.3d 135, 201-Ohio-6318, Cleveland filed suit against the state asking for a declaration that the statute was unconstitutional, arguing the bill was an abuse of legislative power and violated the single subject provision of the Ohio Constitution. While the trial court sided with the state, the court of appeals reversed the decision indicating that the law was not a general law and was in fact unconstitutional. The Ohio Supreme Court accepted the case and reversed the Appellate court’s decision, ultimately allowing the law. This case, along with House Bill 347, changed a long history of local gun rights control ordinances in Cleveland Ohio.
Gun related homicides had been a historical issue in Cleveland, Ohio. As such, Cleveland had passed many ordinances regarding gun control. These ordinances included a ban on assault weapons and a prohibition on carrying guns in public places. Since the passing of HB 347, pro-gun demonstrators have made a point of carrying their guns in public areas in Cleveland, most notably, during the republican national convention in 2016.
That is not to say Cleveland has not tried to continue to pass ordinances regulating guns. The city attempted to create a gun registry and tried to require any individual who was not a dealer to report gun sales. The Eighth District Court of Appeals overturned those laws based on the requirements from House Bill 347 that all gun laws be uniform in the state of Ohio.
What does this all mean to a resident or visitor to Cleveland? It means that any laws regarding gun control are going to be the same throughout Ohio. Before HB 347, anyone carrying a weapon would have to be sure to recognize the differences in laws between cities. The differing ordinances made it very easy to inadvertently violate an ordinance.
Some examples of statewide gun rights include the fact that since Ohio is an open-carry state, any individual can openly carry in Cleveland if the individual legally owns or possesses the gun. Additionally, Ohio does allow carrying concealed weapons with a proper permit, which means anyone with a proper permit can carry a concealed weapon anywhere in the state. However, there are exceptions to both of the above situations. For example, you cannot possess a gun if there is alcohol in your system. Also, there are areas designated as “no-carry,” such as school property and churches, except for certain circumstances. Additionally, you must have a concealed carry permit and not be drinking alcohol in order to carry in an establishment serving alcohol.
If you find yourself charged with an offense involving a weapon, be sure to contact Bangerter Law, an experienced criminal law attorney that can review your case to be sure your rights are not being violated.