A City of Wyoming ordinance that restricts the carrying of guns in public places has been amended to comply with state law.
Section 549.13 of the Codified Ordinances of Wyoming, OH, addressed the “Carrying of Dangerous Weapons,” including (but not limited to) blackjacks, brass knuckles, switchblades, and firearms. It forbade such weapons in “any place to which the general public has access and a right to resort for business, entertainment or other lawful purpose,” including streets, parks, city buildings, restaurants, and shops. Due to recent changes, this ordinance was more restrictive than state laws allow.
Under Ohio law, political subdivisions are prohibited from enacting laws that infringe on the right to bear arms to a greater extent than state or federal law. The law, O.R.C. Section 9.68, was amended last year to specifically enumerate the types of local laws that are preempted and impose greater financial liability on local governments that enforce such ordinances, or even maintain them on the books. The City of Wyoming faced such liability if its own ordinances were not amended as well. On February 18, 2020, City Council voted to change the ordinances as an emergency measure, and the amendments went into effect immediately.
Most of the City’s firearm restrictions remain in effect. “It still remains illegal to discharge a firearm in the City with some exception and the City still prohibits hunting – these are local laws,” says City Solicitor Emily Supinger. “The Ohio Attorney General’s office has taken the position that these types of ordinances are not preempted.” Furthermore, owners are still bound by state and federal laws as to where they are permitted to carry their firearms. Ohio is an open-carry state and has concealed-carry laws as well.
The change should not affect law enforcement much. According to Chief Rusty Herzog, the Wyoming Police Department typically did not issue firearm citations under City ordinance; rather, they cited under state law because of the harsher penalties.