Two residents of Hamilton County, Ohio have sued the Hamilton County Sheriff and the county prosecutor over the fee charged to apply for a concealed carry permit. The two are also challenging Ohio’s prohibition against carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle within easy reach of the driver.
Jeff Daly says he lives in a dangerous neighborhood and wants to be able to have a loaded gun in his car for self protection.
He said in the complaint that it if it weren’t for Ohio law, he would carry a pistol while driving his vehicle to protect himself and his family. Daly said he has not done so because he fears prosecution and arrest.
But to carry in a vehicle, Daly needs a concealed handgun license.
Charles Jarvis is confined to a wheelchair and, according to the complaint, qualifies for Social Security and lives in poverty. Both attempted to apply for concealed carry licenses but were told by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office that they have to pay a fee. Only current and retired law enforcement officers can get one at no cost.
Their suit argues that under the provisions of Heller v. DC, they have an individual right to possess and carry firearms. And as their attorney noted . . .
“(T)he state cannot charge a fee to exercise a fundamental right.”
“There is no alternative but to pay the fee to exercise that right in a private automobile. Thus the imposition of the fee is unconstitutional,” he said.
Government entities nationwide charge fees to process concealed carry licenses. Those fees impact the poor disproportionately and could probably the basis for a challenge if set unreasonably high (whatever that may mean is open to interpretation and, possibly, judicial review.
Ohio’s CHL fee is $67. Higher than some, but lower than many. While we don’t expect them to prevail, we certainly wish the plaintiffs well.