In a 4-3 decision, the court upheld an appeals court ruling that had struck down the city of Clyde's 2004 ban on guns in its parks because it conflicts with the state's multifaceted con- cealed-carry law. Clyde is southwest of Sandusky.
The ruling not only eliminates gun bans in Independence and Cleveland Heights parks but also threatens several Cleveland gun restrictions and all but kills further efforts by cities to trump or challenge the 4-year-old state law.
"The main impact is that it is going to restrict municipalities, city councils and so forth from restricting the rights of Ohio citizens who carry concealed weapons in public areas," said Patrick Lewis, a Cleveland attorney and member of the conservative Federalist Society, who was not involved in the case.
Chief Justice Thomas Moyer, who voted with the minority, was more direct, saying, "Implementation of the state statute strikes a severe blow to the underlying principles of self-government."
The question for the court was whether the concealed-carry law was meant by state legislators to be applied evenly statewide.