November 23, 2014


Lawsuit against Oberlin postpones firearms in public park discussion

From left, David Sonner, of Oberlin; Michael Holubar, of Wakeman; Fred Tegtmeyer, of Ashland; Jeff Phillips and Chase, 8, of Oberlin; Nick Mascari, of Wellington; and Brian Kuzawa, of Ashland, debate whether guns should be allowed in public at Park Street Park in Oberlin, which does not allow firearms. KRISTIN BAUER/CHRONICLE

A debate was held Sept. 8 at Park Street Park in Oberlin over whether firearms should be allowed in the park. Council has postponed discussing changing the city amendment after the city was sued last week. CHRONICLE FILE

OBERLIN — City Council tabled a resolution regarding firearms in public parks due to a lawsuit that was filed against the city last week by the Ohioans for Concealed Carry.

The resolution, which passed during a first reading at a Council meeting on Sept. 16, asked that the Ohio General Assembly pass legislation and Gov. John Kasich sign legislation to amend the Ohio Revised Code to enable home rule cities to regulate the possession of firearms in public parks. City Council introduced the resolution after amending its ordinance to allow firearms in city parks in order to comply with state law.

Although four council members — Elizabeth Meadows, Scott Broadwell, Sharon Fairchild-Soucy and Ron Rimbert — voted to approve changes to the amendment, all of the council members were against bringing firearms to the city’s parks. Despite the changes, the city was sued Oct. 1 by Ohioans for Concealed Carry and Ashland residents Brian and Janae Kuzawa, who contend that the wording in the city’s ordinance is too vague, and several other ordinances regarding firearms are illegal.

City Law Director Jon Clark, who was on vacation when the lawsuit was filed, said he would need to discuss the lawsuit with City Council, and he recommended tabling the resolution. City Council met in executive session after the meeting to discuss the litigation.

During the meeting, Oberlin resident Patrick Doyle suggested that peace poles be erected at Park Street Park to represent the city’s stance against gun violence. He said peace poles are used at Peace Community Church on East Lorain Street, and the poles are recognized as an international symbol of peace.

Councilman Bryan Burgess also discussed his opposition to House Bill 203, which would expand gun rights in the state by allowing lawful gun owners to use their firearms if they feel that their lives are threatened. Burgess said the law would allow firearm carriers to use their guns, regardless of where they are, which is unlike the Castle Doctrine that allows for the use of deadly force only in a vehicle or home.

“It’s the same piece of law that allowed the Travon Martin tragedy to take place,” he said.


In other business

City Council approved the bid of Crossroads Asphalt Recycling Inc., of Columbia Station, for the 2013 Pavement Maintenance Project.

The project is intended to extend the life of asphalt pavements by correcting deficiencies in the pavement by crack sealing, select grind and resurface, micro-surfacing and surface sealing.

The proposed area for resurfacing is Maple Street, east of Pleasant Street, which is among the worst-rated streets in town, according to a letter from Public Works Director Jeff Baumann to City Council members. The work on the street includes limited curb repair, milling two inches off of the existing surface and replacing it with asphalt.

The city’s other priority areas for crack sealing are Oberlin Road between Lorain and College streets, Grafton Street, South Pleasant Street from Locust to Hamilton streets, Forest Street, Cedar Street between Lorain and College streets, West College Street from Prospect to West Lorain streets, Fairway Drive and Beech Street.

Of three bids received by the city, Crossroads Asphalt was the least expensive at $82,426, according to the letter.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.

  • Joe Smith

    Patrick Doyle suggested that peace poles be erected at Park Street Park to represent the city’s stance against gun violence.

    gun violence?

    I never seen a gun be violent before so it must work

  • 2111

    Councilman Burgess should look into facts before deciding to make public statements that show his ignorance of the Martin case. At no time was the stand your ground law used as a defense in that case because it didn’t apply. How can someone so misinformed allow himself to make public statements on matters without knowledge of which he speaks? Very disappointing coming from a public figure that has the ability to govern.

  • Gun toting cracker

    The “Stand your Ground Law” never had anything to do with the Martin / Zimmerman case. This is nothing but typical misinformation spread by Liberals who don’t know what they are talking about. Liberals find a reporter who is equally naive, doesn’t know better, prints incorrect statements without researching the statements b/4 they are printed.

    One segment of 203 would remove the ‘duty to retreat’. If I have a legal right to be where I am, I wouldn’t be required to leave, or give ground to a attacker. (robber, criminal). I’m too old to run or fight, that’s ok for you young guys.

    H.B.203 would also authorize the State of Ohio to recognize a carry permit from another state with a reciprocity agreement. This is like having your driver’s license accepted in another State.

    It is NOT just a “Kill at Will” bill, as some misinformed would have you believe. I believe it gives you more of your Second Amendment rights lost over the years, taken by Liberals who still claim the wild west will return. They are once again wrong, it hasn’t.

    Here’s the link, nowhere in there does it say “Kill at will :

    Be informed, don’t give away any of the rights God and the Founding Fathers gave you.

  • Phil Blank

    Thought I read on today’s front page that Oberlin dropped this nonsense because of the lawsuit?

  • Nick Mascari

    Peace poles!!! ROFL!!

    We should just put peace poles everywhere! Criminals will be stopped in their tracks at the sight of a peace pole!!