The Ohio Supreme Court struck down the city of Clyde's ban on carrying firearms in city parks in a 4-3 decision Thursday.
The ruling means all municipal ordinances attempting to regulate guns on city property are now void in Ohio, said Daniel Ellis of Ohioans for Concealed Carry.
The activist organization filed suit against Clyde's ban on guns in city parks in August 2004, shortly after it was enacted. The group claimed in the suit the ban was in conflict with state legislation passed in January 2004 allowing qualified people to carry guns anywhere unless specifically prohibited by the state law.
The Sandusky County Court of Common Pleas upheld the ban, citing a decision by the Sixth District Court of Appeals that allowed Toledo's ban on guns in city parks. Ohioans for Concealed Carry appealed the Clyde ban at about the same time the state passed additional legislation making it clear it intended to enact a law making gun regulation uniform throughout the state.
With the new legislation in place, the Sixth District Court overturned Clyde's ban. The city appealed the case to the Ohio Supreme Court on the grounds it was acting on home rule power to exercise local self-government.
The decision, written by Justice Terrence O'Donnell, said home rule powers affect only internal affairs, and they do not give the city the right to exercise police powers applicable to visitors as well as residents. The Supreme Court also found the city's ban was in conflict with the state law.
"I'm somewhat disappointed," said Clyde city manage Dan Weaver. "Once again we think the court took away some more home rule power."
Weaver added that he was not surprised by the decision.
"Money and special interest groups win out, and local government loses," he said. "When parents see people carrying guns at their kids' baseball games and they call the police and get all upset, we won't be able to do anything about it."
Ellis, on the other hand, said the decision protected the ability of Ohioans to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
"The founding fathers understood the balance between the government and civil rights because they just fought a war," Ellis said.
He said because of the decision, gun owners can follow a uniform law throughout the state of Ohio.
"This decision is a good decision for individuals because now you know what is unlawful," Ellis said.