Saturday, April 13, 2002

Portune wants end to gun-law appeals

By Marie McCain,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune wants County Prosecutor Mike Allen to stop fighting an appellate court decision that legalizes carrying concealed weapons in the county.

        In a letter sent Friday to county Administrator David Krings, Mr. Portune asked that a resolution be prepared to direct Mr. Allen to withdraw an appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court. He'd like the resolution ready for consideration at the commissioners' meeting April 17.

        “We ... should not be a party to a process that urges the (Supreme) Court to enforce an unconstitutional law — a law that forces people to be arrested and run the risk of prosecution and conviction simply for the purpose of determining their legal rights,” Mr. Portune wrote.

        Mr. Allen said Friday he won't withdraw the county's appeal because his clients, who do not include Mr. Portune or Hamilton County's two other commissioners, don't want him to.

        The county has joined the city of Cincinnati and the state Attorney General's office in appealing a Wednesday decision by the First District Court of Appeals.

        The appellate court agreed with a lower court decision that declared Ohio's ban on concealed carry unconstitutional.

        Government attorneys say the decision places Hamilton County law enforcement at risk.

        They've also asked the Supreme Court for a stay that would once again make it illegal to carry a concealed weapon in Hamilton County.

        The Supreme Court took no action Friday

        Mr. Allen has said he personally favors a concealed carry law, however, because he represents the county sheriff, administrator, dog warden and other county offices named in the original lawsuit, he has to “represent their position to the best of (his) ability.”

        In 2000, five Hamilton County residents challenged the ban, saying that it hinders their constitutional rights to carry a weapon for personal protection.


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