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Ohio's Concealed Carry Ban Lifted

April 11, 2002  | 

An appeals court in Ohio upheld a lower court's ruling that the state's ban on carrying concealed weapons violates the state constitution.

The 1st Ohio District Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the decades-old ban, which bars both carrying a concealed weapon and having a loaded weapon in a vehicle, infringes on the right to self-defense.

Pat Feely, a food delivery truck driver, was one of five people who challenged the law in court. He was arrested in 1999 because he kept a gun in his waistband while delivering pizzas.Lawyers for Cincinnati, Hamilton County, and the state had argued that government has the right to regulate the manner in which weapons are carried. Ohio's attorney general asked the state Supreme Court for an immediate delay of the ruling to hear an appeal, said spokesman Joe Case.

The appeals court upheld Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman's Jan. 10 ruling that the state ban was unenforceable in the county. The court also said the ban is confusing to citizens and police, making it likely that various agencies would enforce the law differently.

Ohio law allows only law enforcement officials and state and federal government officers to carry concealed weapons.

The plaintiffs, who include a private investigator, say their jobs take them into areas where they need self defense. Their attorneys also argued that conflicting enforcement by different police agencies makes it difficult for people to know how to exercise their constitutional right to self-defense.

They said Cincinnati police have arrested people for carrying concealed weapons, and city officers have testified they probably would arrest someone who tried to openly carry a weapon.

Meanwhile, an Ohio State Highway Patrol officer testified that the patrol has caught motorists carrying loaded guns and let them go.

Forty-three states allow concealed weapons in some form.

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