For Immediate Release
January 10, 2001
Second Amendment Foundation
12500 NE Tenth Place * Bellevue, WA 98005
Contact: Alan Gottlieb (425) 454-7012
Contact: Attorney Tim Smith (513) 632-5333
Contact: Attorney Bill Gustavson (513) 621-4477
Ohio's ban on carrying concealed firearms has been struck down as
unconstitutional in a landmark ruling. Within Hamilton County, law-abiding,
mentally competent adults can now carry guns concealed and have loaded guns in
their vehicles without fear of being arrested and prosecuted for exercising
their rights under the Ohio Constitution. The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF),
a leading national gun owner rights organization, funded the lawsuit.
"This is one of the greatest victories for the Second Amendment
Foundation and the citizens of Ohio," stated SAF Founder Alan Gottlieb.
"Not since SAF forced the city of Los Angeles to begin issuing concealed
carry licenses have we earned such a clear win, and it feels great to strike
down a gun control law using the Ohio Constitution."
SAF's lawsuit exposed the current scheme as a violation of the Ohio
Constitution (Article 1, Section 1 [inalienable rights to defending life,
liberty and property], Article 1, Section 4 [bear arms for defense and
security], Article 1, Sections 2 [equal protection] and Article 1, Section 16
[due process]). In addition, as Judge Ruehlman found in his decision, the
current law treats people as if guilty until proven innocent!
The Ohio laws in question, R.C. 2923.12, bans all concealed carry of firearms
with felony penalties for any violations while R.C. 2923.16 bans loaded guns in
a motor vehicle. Only after a person is caught violating either of these
provisions, and the person incurs the costs and stresses of a criminal trial,
does the current law allow the possibility of an "affirmative defense"
to be made. It was for this reason that the law was struck down.
Plaintiffs include Pat Feely, who was previously arrested and tried under the
gun carry ban scheme. Both the prosecutor and the judge in that case stated that
the law should be changed or repealed. While Feely was acquitted at trial, he
risked the same charges again if found carrying a concealed firearm in the
future. The threat and costs of repeated prosecutions was only one of many
reasons the current law was declared unconstitutional.
Mr. Feely carries large sums of cash as part of his employment. Feely,
private investigator Chuck Klein and businessman James Cohen sought to have
their right of self-defense restored with several pro-gun rights groups like
Ohioans for Concealed Carry, Peoples Rights Organization and the Second
This decision does NOT mean that criminals, juveniles and other prohibited
persons can carry firearms since many other gun laws remain enforceable. This
was made clear in the court's ruling and if there are any questions about this
fact, please call the numbers above or visit our website at http://www.saf.org/Ohio.htm
"This lawsuit is about restoring the right to bear arms to law-abiding
adults under the Ohio Constitution, and does not benefit criminals in any way,
shape or form," said Gottlieb. "The hysterical gloom-and-doom rhetoric
from the other side highlights that they have not studied the successes in vast
majority of states that allow concealed carry."
Nationally, 42 states specifically allow the carrying of concealed weapons or
firearms with a license or permit. This could rise to 43 states if New Mexico's
new concealed carry law is upheld. Vermont allows the carrying of concealed
firearms without any license/permit because of a court decision, State v.
Rosenthal, (1903). Of the remnant 6 or 7 states, Ohio is unique with its
affirmative defense and on who the burden of proof is placed.
The Second Amendment Foundation is the nation's oldest and largest tax-exempt
education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the
Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded
in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 600,000 members and supporters
and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the
consequences of gun control. SAF has previously funded successful
firearms-related suits against the cities of Los Angeles; New Haven, CT; and San
Francisco on behalf of American gun owners. Current projects include several
concealed carry lawsuits, a lawsuit against the cities suing gun makers & an
amicus brief & fund for the Emerson case holding the Second Amendment as an
See a story on the ruling here: