Oral Arguments in the landmark concealed carry lawsuit funded by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) will take place on Wednesday, March 20th at 9:00 AM in Room A of the William Howard Taft Law Center in Cincinnati. A decision in this case is expected anytime between Wednesday and April 10th.
This hearing is important enough that Dave LaCourse, SAF’s Public Affairs Director, will be in Cincinnati at the hearing and available for media interviews. A victory here upholding the trial court will likely force concealed carry reform despite opposition by anti-gun groups and some lawmakers. Already, the Court of Appeals modified the stay so that it expires on April 10th at 9:00 AM and noted that if the laws are found unconstitutional, the court is not inclined to grant any other stays. All of this is considered good news by those challenging the gun control laws.
“We consider this a win, as the burden of proof was on us the whole time,” said SAF Public Affairs Director Dave LaCourse. “This hearing and the pending decision should provide even more incentive for the Governor and the Legislature to seek a quick solution.”
SAF’s lawsuit exposed the current scheme as a violation of the Ohio Constitution (Article 1, Section 1 [inalienable rights to defending life, liberty & property], Article 1, Section 4 [bear arms for defense & security], Article 1, Section 2 [equal protection] and Article 1, Section 16 [due process]). In addition, the current law treats people as if guilty until proven innocent and testimony at trial found that open carry is also not allowed. All this, plus the disparity between the public and private sector employees, makes these laws unconstitutional.
R.C. 2923.12 bans concealed carry of firearms with felony penalties for any violations while R.C. 2923.16 bans loaded guns in a motor vehicle. Only after a person is caught violating either of these provisions, and incurs the costs and stresses of a criminal trial, does the current law allow for an indefinable “affirmative defense.”
Plaintiffs include Pat Feely, who was previously arrested and tried under the gun carry ban scheme. Both the prosecutor and the judge in that case stated that the law should be changed or repealed. Feely, James Cohen, Vernon Ferrier, Leanne Driscoll and private investigator Chuck Klein sought to have their right of self-defense restored with several pro-gun rights groups like Ohioans for Concealed Carry, People’s Rights Organization and the Second Amendment Foundation. So far, everyone is pleased with the outcome.
“The Ohio Constitution and common sense are on our side, and we expect to be victorious in the Appeals Court with the trial court decision upheld,” stated LaCourse. “These unconstitutional gun control laws are on death row, and by ignoring this fact, the Governor and lawmakers are inviting Vermont-style carry.”
Nationally, 42 states specifically allow the carrying of concealed weapons or firearms with a license or permit. Vermont makes 43 states by allowing the carrying of concealed firearms without any license/permit because of a court decision, State v. Rosenthal (1903). Of the remaining 7 states, Ohio is unique with its incomprehensible affirmative defense and on whom the burden of proof is placed.