December 20, 2014

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City of Oberlin sued for firearms ordinance change

OBERLIN – The city of Oberlin has been sued for its firearms ordinances despite multiple City Council meetings in which council members discussed amending the ordinances to comply with state law.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Lorain County Court of Common Pleas by Ohioans for Concealed Carry, Inc., and Ashland residents Brian and Janae Kuzawa.

The organization and the Kuzawas have been outspoken during City Council meetings, asking the city to revise its ordinance that banned firearms in the city’s parks, despite a state law which allows it.

The Oberlin Police Department has said that ordinance was never enforced, and City Council members reluctantly agreed to revise its ordinance during a heated City Council meeting Sept. 16.

But representatives for Ohioans for Concealed Carry warned council members that its revision to the ordinance, which banned “unlawful” possession of firearms in the park, was too vague.
Ohioans for Concealed Carry President and Founder Jeff Garvas warned City Council that passing the ordinance as it was written would not be in compliance with state law. He asked Council members to remove the word “firearm” from its ordinance.

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Council voted 4-3 in favor of complying with state law Sept. 16, 2013. THE CHRONICLE TELEGRAM/CHELSEA MILLER

According to the lawsuit, five of the city’s ordinances violate Ohio Revised Code because they try to regulate the right to keep and bear arms, which is protected by state law.

“Defendant maintains numerous additional ordinances that purport to regulate the right to keep and bear arms which, while currently substantially similar to state law provisions, are simply beyond the power and authority of Defendant to maintain … Defendant is unable or unwilling to keep its ordinances up-to-date with Ohio law,” according to the lawsuit.

 

 

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.