Back in 2014 the city of Cleveland proposed some strict new gun control regulations. It read like a gun control activist’s Christmas wish list, including things like a “gun offender registry” based on the concept of a sex offender registry. It would also have required reporting of stolen firearms, and making it a crime to “allow access” to a firearm to someone under the age of 18.
After months of debate the city council crammed through the new laws despite knowing full-well that they were in direct conflict with the state of Ohio’s rigorous pre-emption law that prohibited local gun regulation. Now, about two years later (and who knows how many hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money wasted), the courts have finally caught up and declared Cleveland’s new laws null and void.
The appeals judges that found all but two of those laws were more restrictive than existing state gun laws. The restriction on selling to people who are intoxicated and the prohibition on giving guns to a minor are allowed to stand because they mirror existing laws established by the legislature, according to the decision.
Judge Sean Gallagher, who penned the panel’s opinion, noted that the judges could only make their decision based on state law.
“The city may not enact ordinances that conflict with Ohio’s firearm ownership and possession laws, which are intended to prove uniformity throughout the state,” Gallagher wrote. “If individuals on either side of the divide are unhappy with the law as written, the remedy lies with the Ohio legislature.”
Cleveland gun owners can be happy that at least the state court system understands the concept that laws are intended to be interpreted as written instead of applying their personal beliefs and preference. In short, the approach new Justice Neil Gorsuch’s reportedly espouses.
We can only hope that a result like this is an indication of what we can expect at the Supreme Court level. Watch this space.