Ohio Gun Owners Challenge Oberlin's Illegal Gun Ban in City Parks

A few years ago, the city of Clyde in Sandusky County was sued by Ohioans For Concealed Carry because they banned citizens from carrying firearms in their city parks. The problem was that Ohio Revised Code allows citizens with a valid concealed carry license to exercise their rights in public parks, and state law preempts local ordinances. The matter made its way to the Ohio Supreme Court and OFCC prevailed. 

Now, a similar battle is brewing in Oberlin. 

Oberlin is one of the most liberal towns in Ohio. Barack Obama won in Oberlin with 90% of the vote and it's home to equally liberal Oberlin College where a race hoax was recently uncovered by conservative bloggers. They still subscribe to the false belief that laws banning guns make them safer, and have one on the books banning guns in Oberlin City Parks. Brian Kuzawa has informed City Council that their law is preempted by Ohio Revised Code and that they need to change it.

The debate on the city’s gun laws began Aug. 2 when Kuzawa emailed Police Chief Tom Miller that he would be legally carrying his firearm in the park. He notified Miller that the city’s ban of firearms in municipal parks went against state law — something that is allowed under the Ohio Revised Code. On Tuesday, city Law Director Jon Clark urged Council members to amend Oberlin’s ordinance to match state law, lest they face legal action. State law allows for carrying firearms in public with the exception of some locations. Those who challenge any city ordinance that violates their right to bear arms could be awarded costs and reasonable attorney fees.

On Saturday afternoon, several gun owners wearing their firearms held a meet and greet in Oberlin's Park Street Park. The goal was show to show Oberlin lawmakers and residents that they have nothing to fear from Ohio's concealed handgun license (CHL) holders. They are just like everyone else in the park, except that they have undergone a background check and training in order to protect themselves and their families in case the need ever arrives. Some of the people brought their children. 

There were also some angry anti-gun residents gathered in the park. One of them brought a sign likening gun owners to terrorists. There was some debate and argument from time to time, but all was peaceful and no voices were raised. Another event is scheduled for Sunday the 15th, ahead of the next Oberlin City Council meeting.

Oberlin's law director has urged the city to remove the ban or be prepared to spend thousands in legal fees in a case they will ultimately lose. City council is advancing such a measure but also seeking ways around Ohio Revised Code. Clyde tried the same thing and spent $70,000 in a losing effort. Liberals think that banning guns makes them safer. The facts are that as gun ownership has risen, gun crime has fallen. And whenever a tragedy happens and some lunatic goes on a shooting spree, where does he commit his crime? In "gun-free" zones like schools and campuses. Hopefully, Oberlin decides to do the right thing and repeals their illegal gun ban. 


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