Friday, September 19, 2008

Cities Can't Ban Guns From Public Parks, Ohio Says

In the Cleveland Plain Dealer there's an article about an important and fascinating ruling. It seems the Ohio Supreme Court has decided that local municipalities cannot ban guns from public parks. Naturally, as with any gun legislation, this is an extremely controversial ruling. From the juridical standpoint, it's all about local legislators being subject to the larger government, in this case the State government. The fact that the ruling favors gun owners makes it somewhat ironical, I think. Aren't the gun owners the ones who usually disparage big government? Aren't they the ones who usually support individual rights to self governance? I'm really not being sarcastic with these questions; I find this situation somewhat complicated.

Two of the local residents summed up the opposing viewpoints pretty well, though.

"People should be able to carry guns wherever they like, as long as they're registered and within the limits of the law," Mike Marx, 42, of North Royalton, said while eating lunch at Lakewood Park. "Parks, public places - if someone feels the need, they should have one."

Across the table, Lisa Herhuth, 28, had the opposite view. "I don't believe anyone should carry guns at all," the North Olmsted resident said. "I don't want to see them in public places or parks, either, especially where children are playing."


  1. In California the SF anti-gun laws were struck because the State of California Constitution explicitly states that the counties, cities and municipalities have no right to create legislation in arms that trump state law. I'm not versed in California law, so I'd have to look Ohio case law and Constitutional law up, but I don't see it as a "big government-little government" thing at all.

    I do see it as a victory of reason over fear mongering.

  2. I might add, it simplifies things quite a bit for law enforcement and law abiding citizens that carry to not have to deal with a patchwork quilt of laws as to where and possibly when they can and can't carry, making accidental felons out of scores of people who might not be familiar with all town ordinances in every individual town of their state.

  3. it's a balanced trade-off. on the one side, having laws made close to the people who'll have to follow them (local governance) might tend to make the laws better suited for the local society, and improve democratic influence on lawmakers. on the other hand, enlarging the areas covered by any single, coherent set of rules removes borders, increases certainty about what the rules are, and eases travel and trade.

    probably somewhere in the middle you can make a good compromise. we'll probably never get a permanent consensus on precisely where in the middle that compromise is to be found.

    in this particular case, as concerns gun regulations, i tend to side with the gun owners. too many banned areas can serve as a backdoor ban on carrying guns at all, by making it too onerous to have to avoid all these places that have been ruled off limits just because somebody somewhere was afraid of guns.

    people like ms. Herhuth might not want to see guns around her, but why should it be the gun owners' duty to keep away from wherever she might be to accomplish that, rather than her duty to stay cooped up in her home since she doesn't want to see this, that, and the other thing? (besides which, most folks who carry guns at all do so concealed. she wouldn't be able to see the things anyway.)

  4. I carried on BART in SF after carefully questioning the CHP, SFPD, and BART police. The BART police grumbled that it was a "state" issue and out of their jurisdiction.


    And I didn't break any laws.

  5. Mike,

    I just went to google maps and counted the number of cities in and around Dallas Fort Worth. Cities that it is reasonable that I'll be passing through at some point in the year. I have relatives, friends and activities that take me around a bit.

    I stopped counting at 40! How in the world would I be able to keep up with the requirements for each city if there wasn't state law on preemption on Concealed Carry?

    Let's put it in context with another amendment:

    Amendment XIII
    Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    This is of course a federal law, should states have a right to change it? Make it acceptable to have slavery, indentured servitude because the people in the states want it? I think that is what the entire war was fought over.

    The Supreme Court has ruled that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, should the states be allowed to say it isn't?

    The analogy is the same...cities are trying to say the rights aren't what the state and federal governments say they are. Would you put up with a city law that said people named Mike would have to get a permit before speaking in public? Of course the permits are only available on October 5th between 4 & 5 pm.

    That is what many cities and states are trying to do. They want to be able to say yes, we let people exercise their rights while making it practically impossible for people to do it.

    I see this simply as a case of government doing what it should....making sure people can exercise their individual rights

  6. Mike,

    Think of this statement:

    Across the table, Lisa Herhuth, 28, had the opposite view. "I don't believe anyone should carry guns at all," the North Olmsted resident said. "I don't want to see them in public places or parks, either, especially where children are playing."

    And substitute any number of the "protected classes" in for guns: minorities, GLBT, disabled, religon, etc. Would you put up with it?

  7. Really its a disaster allowing individual towns or areas to play this game. Really the end result is stupidity rather than anything resembling common sense. Let's take a normal day for somebody with a CCW permit. Do work around the house, go to the store, go to the movies, walk around mainstreet, get a bite to eat....but suddenly if you walk into a post Office you're a felon. Seriously, does that make ANY sense? How about if you go walk your dog in a park? How about if the restaurant where you bought your sandwich also was licensed to sell beer?

    I'm currently in the process of getting my New Hampshire and Maine Carry permit. All lawful gun owners may carry in Vermont. Last weekend I went to Vermont, we had to drive through New Hampshire. How exactly was I supposed to juggle that mess? Drive with a gun in my pocket to the state line then pull over in the middle of the highway to tuck it under my seat? Drive illegally until I find a suitable rest stop?

    In the end I didn't carry. All this stuff does is disarm lawful people, or get lawful people in trouble trying to be rational around irrational laws.

    honestly they should repeal all the state laws and just make one big blanket carry law. Open Carry? 100% legal to all lawful people 18 years old or older. May be restricted by private property owners. conceal carry, you need to send an Application to the ATF and if they find you to be of appropriate age and of clean background you get your permit, and you may carry wherever you damn please concealed. Much like driver's licenses, where once you get your license you may drive on any road.

  8. I'm sorry, but in my experiences, you DO NOT WANT THE BATFE or FBI or TSA or Homeland Security in charge of vetting people. They tend to drag their feet and play politics constantly.

    General idea is good. Choice of agency is bad.

  9. "General idea is good. Choice of agency is bad."

    Well I left the second part unsaid. That the BATFE should be gutted like a fish and then restocked with people who understand they're there to serve the people and the US Constitution.

    Hell they're letting their own guns show up on the streets, and then trying to blame us for it!

    Nope that place needs a SERIOUS makeover!

  10. I understand the "reason over fear mongering" idea. It makes perfect sense to me that you wouldn't want to be unnecessarily inconvenienced by having that patchwork of jurisdictions to worry about. On the other hand, Ms. Herhuth has the right to fear guns and want gun-free parks. I think it's a little hard-hearted to simply say she should stay home. What if she objected to having power tools used in the park? Table saws and jack-hammers should not be allowed in the park where her little darlings come to play. Wouldn't that be reasonable? Why can't she object to guns too? And you know she's not the only one. Even the State Supremes were divided on it.

  11. Mike,

    Ms. Helmuth does have a right to fear firearms, however her fears do not over rid my rights.

    As far as power tools, what if the park needed construction done, should it have to be done with hand tools since she doesn't like power tools? Completely change the way construction is done, cost the tax payers additional money because she doesn't like tools.

    Also, it is easy for her to have a park where firearms are prohibited. She simply has to buy it?

    Let's turn it around for a minute, consider this hypothetical. Since firearms protect more then they hurt, I feel everyone should carry a firearm.
    Do I have a right to force everyone to carry a firearm?

    Nope, no more then she has a right to force everyone to be disarmed.

  12. What if she objected to having power tools used in the park? Table saws and jack-hammers should not be allowed

    that's a great example. a fear of power tools is ridiculous, unreasonable, on the face of it; why should society at large accommodate every possible unreasonable fear? i myself have a fear of heights. does my city have an obligation to cover over all the bridges in town? (i kid, they're not that high. just high enough i prefer not to approach the railings too closely...)

    as well, the example also highlights the difference between usage of a thing and presence of a thing. there are mundane, harmless reasons why power saws and jackhammers might get used in the park --- repair work, for instance. on the other hand, most people who carry guns there legally will be hoping fervently they never have to use them; should they not then be less feared, not more?

  13. My Boss is terrified of spiders. Should the govenment work to wipe these animals off the face of the earth?

  14. High Five to nomen:

    ...most people who carry guns there legally will be hoping fervently they never have to use them; should they not then be less feared, not more?

  15. More grist for Mikeb302000's brain mill.

    Jou verwelkom,

  16. Thanks for the link Tom. I noticed that Ignatius Piazza is now operating outside of Las Vegas. And, of course, Lott says all the things that you guys say.

  17. Too bad you didn't have time for his course while you were there. It's a good school, you would have walked away with a new understanding, and they even throw in a free, as in YOURS TO KEEP AND TAKE HOME, 9mm,.40S&W, or .45ACP Springfield Armory handgun as part of the intial 5 day training special they are currently running.


    Shot 500 more rounds today and still haven't killed anybody...Practice keeps you from killing the innocent, I reckon. Too bad cops don't practice.