Cleveland Sues State Over Gun Law http://abclocal.go.com/wtvg/story?s...ocal&id=5121854 Concealed weapons debate March 14, 2007 - Cleveland fighting state revision to concealed weapons law CLEVELAND (AP) - The city sued the state on Wednesday, challenging a revision to Ohio's 3-year-old law allowing people to carry concealed guns, arguing it is unconstitutional and infringes on cities' abilities to make their own laws. "What's at stake here is our ability to put laws in place that are in the best interest of our citizens," Mayor Frank Jackson said. The city's suit asks Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court to determine the revision violates the Ohio Constitution and that the Legislature overstepped its bounds. Jackson said several Cleveland gun laws appear to be made unenforceable because the revised state law overrides them. The revision went into effect on Wednesday, and allows motorists to carry concealed guns in their cars and trucks. Previously, the guns had to be either locked up or in plain sight. The other major change was that the law wiped out local gun-control ordinances in cities such as Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, which all had banned possession of assault rifles. Lawmakers made the change because of concerns that the earlier version of the state law was inconsistent, allowing permit-holders to carry hidden guns on the street but not in their cars. The city's lawsuit mentions part of the state law which says that, except for federal and state gun control requirements, a person does not need further licenses to own, possess, sell or keep a firearm. "Our gun laws were created to protect our children, preserve quality of life and create greater safety and security," Jackson said. In a memo to Columbus city licensing officials, Columbus Public Safety Director Mitch Brown said Wednesday that Columbus will no longer enforce its ban on assault weapons. Brown said state law now "is simply poor public policy that makes Ohio residents and our public safety forces more susceptible to deadly gun violence, especially from assault weapons. Nevertheless, we must adhere to the dictates of the Legislature." Jennifer Brindisi, spokeswoman in the office of Attorney General Marc Dann, said Dann's staff examined Cleveland's complaint and was not aware of any other city going to court over the concealed weapons law. "The attorney general is confident that the General Assembly's revisions to Ohio's laws, regarding the licensing and carrying of concealed handguns, will be upheld," she said. "The state laws are part of a comprehensive statewide plan that seeks to protect both the public and the rights of gun owners." Toby Hoover, director of Toledo-based Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence, said she expects other cities, concerned local firearms laws are now pre-empted, may be considering similar court action or join in Cleveland's case. Jeff Garvas, president of Cleveland-based Ohioans for Concealed Carry, said the revisions made gun control in Ohio more reasonable for those who wish to legally own or carry a firearm. "The problem we have had is that every time you would pass the border of a community the laws could change on you," Garvas said. He said Cleveland laws made it more difficult for law abiding people to own or carry a gun.