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Ohio Supreme Court Ruling

Via Matt comes news that the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled in Klein v. Leis that Ohio’s laws do not unconstitutionally infringe the right to bear arms.

I’m no lawyer so this was interesting to me:

It is fundamental that a court must “presume the constitutionality of lawfully enacted legislation.”

..Snip..

Therefore, we begin by presuming [the laws] are constitutional. Accordingly, the legislation in question “will not be invalidated unless the challenger establishes that it is unconstitutional beyond a reasonable doubt.”

So, a law is automatically presumed constitutional and one must prove it’s not? That makes the knee-jerk libertarian in me cringe, but I digress.

One particularly bright spot from the ruling is Today, we reiterate that the right to bear arms is fundamental.

I’m not up on Ohio constitutional standards but it is commonly believed (even by diehard pro-gun guys, like me) that the Second Amendment doesn’t necessarily guarantee an unrestricted right to carry weapons unless as part of the defense of the state (transporting and other things that are inherent in owning arms, like going to the range, excepted). In this case, I think the Ohio Court is right (likely to the chagrin of my other pro-gun bloggers). I do however think that states should have a carry permit process.

Update: Mike quotes the Ohio Constitution in comments:

The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.

4 Responses to “Ohio Supreme Court Ruling”

  1. Mike Spenis Says:

    the Second Amendment doesn’t necessarily guarantee an unrestricted right to carry weapons

    I think the law at issue here was the Ohio constitution, not the US constitution. Here’s Ohio’s Article Four in its entirety:

    The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power.

    As I understand it, the people of Ohio may not carry a firearm either concealed or unconcealed (see here). This sounds a bit daft, considering that they have an explicit right to bear arms for their own defense.

    I’ll never understand lawyers.

  2. SayUncle Says:

    Thanks for the info. It does seem then that the law is unconstitutional with respect to the state’s constitution.

  3. Matt Rustler Says:

    Mike’s dead-on; this isn’t a Second Amendment issue. (I think there’s a very solid argument that the right to carry concealed is constitutionally protected–if one reads the existing precedent objectively–but I don’t think it’s a Second Amendment argument. It’s a Fourteenth Amendment argument.)

  4. cj Says:

    My humble opinion? Ohio is f*cked.

    If you read its constitution, its citizens have a right to bear arms.

    But everything I’ve read in the past five years leads me to believe that Ohio is f*cked. It is no longer a state ruled by its laws (and I certainly avow their right to change their laws via established mechanisms); but if my understanding of their constitution is what actually exists today, I think it no longer functions as an overriding protection of citizen rights.

    That is, indeed, a slippery slope — one that we are ALL seeing victimized by “extreme politics.”