Thursday, October 12, 2000

Two sides argue gun lawsuit

Judge to rule on request for judgment in concealed-weapons case

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A Hamilton County judge delayed until next week a ruling on whether a concealed-weapons lawsuit challenging Ohio law will proceed to trial.

        After hearing arguments from both sides Wednesday, Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman said he was delaying ruling on a request for summary judgment by local law enforcement officials to allow further study of issues sur rounding the case.

        Judge Ruehlman said he would decide whether to summarily dismiss the case by Tuesday.

        Both those challenging the constitutionality of Ohio's concealed-weapons law and those defending it reiterated their positions Wednesday during testimony before the judge.

        John Arnold, assistant prosecutor for Hamilton County, argued the judge should grant a summary judgment in favor of the city, the county and the state of Ohio be cause to do otherwise would overthrow the state's current weapons law. Such sweeping changes in the law, he said, are best done by the state's legislature.

        “It's a legislative decision, not one the courts should address,” Mr. Arnold said.

        But William Gustavson, an attorney for four Cincinnatians who are challenging the state law, argued that the judge should reject the defendant's request for a summary judgment in their favor.

        Mr. Gustavson said a full hear ing on the lawsuit, scheduled to begin Oct. 23, is the best way to determine the merits of the case.

        But attorneys for the city, county and state maintain the current law should stay on the books. Without the law, they said, police officers would be in danger.

        The four Cincinnatians claim in their lawsuit that the concealed-weapons law is unconstitutional because it does not allow them to get permits to legally carry guns. They say they need to carry guns for their own protection.


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