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Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Banning Assault Weapons

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By Minara El-Rahman on January 06, 2011 5:50 AM

Gun rights advocates continue to celebrate.

In a move that strengthens the stance of gun rights, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled to uphold a 2006 law that prevents cities and other local municipalities from enforcing stricter gun laws than the state. In particular, the city of Cleveland's stricter gun laws were found to be in violation of this law.

The main issue was whether Cleveland's more restrictive gun laws can be overridden by Ohio's less restrictive gun laws.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Ohio State Supreme Court ruled that the statewide gun laws were needed in order to spare gun owners from "a confusing patchwork of licensing requirements, possession restrictions and criminal penalties as they travel from one jurisdiction to another."

The ruling was a 5-2 decision by a predominantly Republican court.

The City of Cleveland has approximately half a dozen gun control provisions that are stricter than state law; every firearm in the city must be registered, no one can openly carry a gun in the city, and assault rifles and shotguns were banned. With this new ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court, gun owners can walk in public with rifles, handguns, and assault weapons. Safety rules with regards to guns near children have also been lifted.

The U.S. Supreme Court has recently used the Second Amendment in order to strike down gun laws in Chicago and Washington D.C. which ban guns, The Wall Street Journal reports.

However, the city of Cleveland argued that the statute infringed upon a municipalities' constitutional home-rule rights by preventing them from enacting ordinances that suit their local conditions. The city also claimed that decision to strike down their ordinances would endanger their residents.

Gun rights advocates claimed that the restrictive gun laws in Cleveland did not necessarily protect residents.

"If Cleveland, or any other city, wants to crack down on violence, city leaders there should focus on prosecuting criminals, not enacting new gun laws that only serve to restrict law-abiding citizens," Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement.

Whether municipalities like it or not, there may be more cases about civil rights and gun laws soon.

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