June 2002

Downrange: 06/02

Ohio Court Says Concealed Gun Ban Unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of an Ohio appellate court has unanimously ruled that a state law barring the carrying of concealed firearms violates its citizens’ constitutional right to protect themselves. The 1st Ohio District Court of Appeals ruled April 10 that the 75-year-old law was vague and subjective, and “effectively prohibits law-abiding citizens from bearing weapons.” Ohio’s Constitution provides that the “people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security.” The plaintiffs in the case had argued that the state law prevented them from exercising that right. The appeals court decision upholds a ruling earlier this year by a Hamilton County judge who originally found the law unconstitutional.

Hamilton County prosecutor Mike Allen, whose job it was to defend Ohio’s concealed weapon law just overturned by an appellate court there, had some personal observations about the need for concealed carry.

“We need it,” Allen is quoted as saying in an April 11 story in the Cincinnati Post. Moreover, Allen acknowledges in the article, “In the states that have it, crime goes down.” You can read the whole story at www.cincypost.com/2002/apr/11/ccw041102.html.

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Consent Decree Dissolved. On April 8, following the city’s decision to drop its lawsuit against other members of the firearms industry, Boston and the Boston Public Health Commission agreed to dissolve the Consent Decree signed on March 1, 2001, with Smith & Wesson.

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ATF Issues Letter Of Explanation, Apology To FFLS. Many firearm dealers across the country saw their gun business halted in mid-February due to a foul-up over new regulations issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms. The new rules pertained to the purchase of firearms by nonimmigrant aliens and included a revised Form 4473, the federal paperwork customers must fill out before any gun sale can be completed. A major problem arose, however, as few dealers had received the form by the February 19 deadline for implementing the new rules, a result of the ATF’s independent printing contractor failing to have the forms ready for shipping. Despite ATF personnel going into a crisis management mode to try and alleviate the problem by faxing forms, posting it on their Web site for dealers to download, and in some cases personally delivering them, firearm businesses were disrupted.

The snafu prompted ATF Director Bradley A. Buckles to issue an open letter to dealers expressing the agency’s disappointment that in this instance “we did not serve you better.” The ATF “expects high standards of operations of FFLs, and you are entitled to expect the same high standards of us,” the director wrote.

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Preemption Bill Gains Momentum. According to the latest tabulation, there are more U.S. representatives signed on to co-sponsor H.R. 2037, Congressman Cliff Stearns’ (R-FL) bill to outlaw nuisance lawsuits against the firearms industry, than the number required to pass the legislation in the House.


-Todd Woodard