Ohio Town, Oberlin, Prepares For Fight Over Law Banning Guns In Parks

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A small town in Ohio is planning to change an ordinance so that its citizens will be able to carry weapons in local parks. The town of Oberlin is preparing to make the change so it will be in compliance with a state statute that was passed in 2006.

Many people in town, including some lawmakers, are not in favor of the change.

“I’m not in favor of any of this,” said City Council President Ron Rimbert. “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.”

Oberlin’s ordinance prohibiting the carrying of guns in parks was passed in 1998.

Gun-rights advocates are the driving force behind the potential law change. David Noice emailed Oberlin Police Chief Tom Miller about the law. “Your city ordinance restricts the possession of firearms in city parks. This is no longer permitted by state law,” he wrote.

According to Noice, other Ohio towns also have laws which violate the state statute, Fox News reported.

“There are numerous public entities that aren’t compliant with state law,” Noice said. “A lot of them simply don’t realize it and are happy when we point it out to them. They move immediately to correct it. Oberlin looks like it will resolve this. But it is complaining every step of the way. It’s fine that it has dissenting views, as long as it fixes the problem.”

Oberlin City Council is expected to decide on Sept. 16 if the law will be rescinded or if the town will attempt to challenge the law in court. Either way, town lawmakers are making known their opposition to the statute.

“Oberlin does not want people bringing guns into its parks,” said Councilmember Shannon Fairchild-Soucy.

Sources: Fox News, Cleveland Plain Dealer