New proposal would give cities control over gun laws

Posted at 5:53 PM, Jul 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-20 17:53:56-04

An Ohio proposal announced Wednesday seeks to give cities the ability to restrict the state laws allowing open or concealed carry of firearms during certain events.

The idea for the legislation grew out of concerns raised about the state's open-carry gun law during this week's Republican National Convention in Cleveland, said state Sen. Cecil Thomas, a Cincinnati Democrat and former police officer.

People can openly carry firearms during protests, marches and rallies as allowed by state law.

Republican Gov. John Kasich rebuffed a request Sunday by the head of the Cleveland police union to suspend that law during the convention, saying he doesn't have the authority to "arbitrarily" alter laws and constitutional rights.

In a Wednesday news release, Thomas said his legislation would give cities some local control over open- or concealed-carry rules during "events of regional or national significance." The bill is expected to be introduced next week.

A 2006 law allows the state, rather than cities, to determine firearm restrictions.

But Thomas' legislation seeks to carve out a process for cities to pass ordinances addressing firearms limitations for certain events.

"A one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to many issues, including open and concealed carry of firearms," Thomas said.

Dean Rieck, executive director of the pro-gun rights group Buckeye Firearms Association, said Thomas' proposal goes against settled law.

The Ohio Supreme Court upheld the state's pre-emption law in a 2010 ruling.

"This is not going to happen," Rieck said of the legislation. "I think it's much ado about nothing."