Dublin Villager

Council repeals gun law conflicting with state code

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

A section of Dublin's gun law was repealed last week to avoid legal trouble, city officials said.

Dublin City Council members, however, are concerned about allowing people to carry guns at public events such as the Dublin Irish Festival and Spooktacular.

In a 4-2 vote, Dublin ordinance 137.08 was repealed.

The law prohibited the unlawful manufacturing, importation, purchase, sale or transfer of assault weapons.

Councilmen Richard Gerber and Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher cast dissenting votes.

Councilmen Amy Salay, Cathy Boring, John Reiner and Mayor Tim Lecklider voted for repeal of the ordinance. Councilman Michael Keenan did not attend the meeting.

The repeal of the ordinance passed by council in 2012 would get Dublin in line with state law and avoid legal action, said Stephen J. Smith Jr., Dublin's assistant law director.

"After looking at it, it's already regulated by Ohio Revised Code," he said. "By changing it, we removed the issue."

The city has been contacted by individuals who say Dublin has no right to have such an ordinance, Smith said.

Supreme Court cases uphold that and any legal action regarding the ordinance would be a loss for the city.

"The state legislature passed comprehensive laws that don't allow us to regulate things within the city," Smith said, adding Dublin can only prohibit the sale of firearms in residential and agricultural areas.

Council members did express concern people can carry firearms into events such as the Dublin Irish Festival and Spooktacular under Ohio law.

"When I go to Nationwide or a football game people are searching bags," Boring said. "What's the difference?"

According to Smith, state laws govern the city when it comes to firearms and public places such as parks can have no additional laws prohibiting firearms.

"As a city we're treated differently," Smith said. "We have no ability to regulate firearms in parks."

Council members suggested talking to state representatives about the law, but Smith said there was little interest from the legislature.

"That doesn't seem to be a cause many people are willing to take on right now," he said.

While council members agreed to talk to local state representatives, Boring suggested a nonprofit 501 3(c) organization be established to run the Irish festival to get around the law that prohibits the city from keeping guns out of the event.

"It's very disturbing to think we can't do something to protect a large amount of visitors during this time," Boring said.

Other council members agreed and expressed concern about the city being governed by state rule.

"I am disturbed and have been disturbed by the continued erosion of home rule," Mayor Tim Lecklider said.

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