Legal Update: Appellate Court Rules in Favor of Ohio Preemption Statute

Gun Rights

The State of Ohio successfully defended the State’s preemption statute in an important appellate court win yesterday.

In 2007, Ohio enacted a preemption law prohibiting municipal ordinances from infringing on Ohioans’ rights to “own, possess, purchase, sell, transfer, transport, store, or keep any firearm, part of a firearm, its components, and its ammunition.” The law additionally awards “costs and reasonable attorney fees” to anyone “that prevails in a challenge” to an ordinance that violates the preemption law. In 2018 and again in 2022, Ohio expanded the preemption law to forbid more local regulations and protect knives in addition to firearms.  

The Supreme Court of Ohio upheld the original 2007 preemption law in a 2010 case, when the City of Cleveland argued that it infringes on municipal home rule authority. Now, the City of Cincinnati is relying on the same argument, in addition to free speech and separation of powers arguments, to challenge the 2018 and 2022 amendments.

The trial court ruled in favor of Cincinnati and preliminarily enjoined the 2018 and 2022 amendments. But today, the First District Court of Appeals reversed that decision and held that under the 2010 Cleveland case, the 2018 and 2022 amendments do not violate Ohio’s Constitution, thereby keeping the entire preemption law intact.

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The Court of Appeals’ ruling is a significant win for Ohioans and the right to keep and bear arms.

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