In an Ohio park weapon owners are allowed to carry guns publicly while utilizing park facilities without fear of legal ramifications. In the town of Oberlin, home of Oberlin College, state law allows for legal gun owners to carry weapons. Brian Kuzawa, Ashland County gun owner, tested the law after notifying law enforcement officials of his intent of matriculating at the park in Oberlin.
“Oberlin does not want people bringing guns into its parks,” Councilmember Shannon Fairchild-Soucy said to the Plain Dealer news paper. Area politicians are outraged that such a state law exists and are scrambling to stem the tide of gun carrying patrons. Local town laws are subordinate to state law and gun supporters have voiced their rights concerning the issue.
Tom Miller, Chief of Police in Oberlin, acknowledged the state law that was passed in 2006 which allowed for licensed carry of weapons in the park. While a person may be arrested for carrying, they cannot be lawfully detained for an unenforceable law. “We don’t want law-abiding citizens getting arrested in Oberlin for an unenforceable law,” said Doug Deeken, of the group Ohioans for Concealed Carry.
State law specifically states the Ohio Park can allow weapons owners’ admittance for carrying guns publicly. Politicians have reacted in violate speeches condemning the law and its supporters in the town of Oberlin. Oberlin has an ordinance on the books that prohibit weapons carry in its parks and has had the law beginning in 1998.
Some city officials have contended that the ordinance will need to be changed to adjust to state standards regarding the matter. “I’m not in favor of any of this,” Council President Ron Rimbert said to the Plain Dealer news paper. “No one on Council is. But we need to get this passed. We have a responsibility to our citizens that we don’t get caught up in any litigation. In Oberlin, we’re protective of our family and friends. But this is a state law.”
While Oberlin is commonly known for its liberalism many residents are opposed to the state law and do not support any change in the local ordinance on the issue. Some are resolute on challenging the state in an attempt to neutralize the current legislation regarding gun carrying in public parks. The City of Cleveland has previously lost in attempts to counter such gun rights issues in 2010.
It is clear of Oberlin’s remedy regarding the issue. They can fight the current law or get rid of the local law on gun carrying in parks. Local politicians critical of the law continue to rant against patrons that carry publicly in Oberlin’s parks. State law allows for Ohio Parks to accommodate weapons owners to carry their guns unhampered by the legal system.
By Thomas Barr