Buckeye Firearms Foundation sues Cleveland to stop enforcement of unconstitutional gun laws

Buckeye Firearms Foundation, Inc., an Ohio not-for profit foundation, filed a lawsuit today in the Common Pleas Court of Cuyahoga County, Ohio seeking a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction to stop the City of Cleveland from prosecuting law-abiding gun owners under local ordinances that restrict gun ownership and concealed carry (CCW). The lawsuit also asks the Court to declare 20 different local ordinances unconstitutional on the grounds of state preemption of firearm laws.

HB347 became effective in March of 2007. It operates to preempt a patchwork of varied and confusing local rules with "uniform laws throughout the state regulating the ownership, possession, purchase, other acquisition, transport, storage, carrying, sale, or other transfer of firearms, their components, and their ammunition."

The legislature recognized that, like motor vehicle laws, it makes sense for firearms laws to be uniform throughout the state. Because local laws can only carry misdemeanor penalties, and almost every crime committed with a gun is a felony under state or federal law, the local laws were almost never used to charge criminals and instead served to disarm the victims. The city’s protestations notwithstanding, in recent times the ordinances were only used for political or philosophical reasons and had the primary effect of harassing law-abiding citizens.

The issue of statewide preemption was challenged by the City of Clyde and the case went all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court. In its decision, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the state preemption law, and Cleveland recently suffered a further setback when they lost the trial stage of their lawsuit against Ohio, which sought to overturn preemption.

In spite of having no authority to enforce local laws restricting firearm ownership, the City of Cleveland has continued to charge and aggressively prosecute individuals who have committed no crime.

Mayor Jackson ordered his police to continue enforcing the preempted gun laws. While the city desperately needs to do a better job prosecuting criminals, they have instead focused on persecuting gun owners. This sort of discrimination is unacceptable and the courts should quickly issue an injunction stopping Cleveland from this unlawful behavior.

Other named defendants include Mayor Frank Jackson, Law Director Robert J. Triozzi, Chief of Police Mike McGrath, Director of Public Safety Martin Flask, Administrative Judge Ronald B. Adrine and David Whitehead, President of Cleveland Metroparks.

Other Plaintiffs include Jim Irvine, President of Buckeye Firearms Foundation and Gilbert Croteau, a Cleveland resident.

"The Mayor said, 'I don't care what state law is.' We say, 'Tell it to the judge.'" said Jim Irvine. "We are a nation of laws, not of men. But apparently the men running our city don't think rules apply to them."

"The vast majority of police officers support a citizen's right to keep and bear arms. It's unfortunate that these fine men and women have to report to a Chief who is defying the law," Irvine continued.

While Buckeye Firearms Foundation is bringing this suit, understand that this is a battle between the individual gun owner and the big city government run amok. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO BATTLE THE FULL RESOURCES OF A CITY CLINGING TO THEIR FAILED GUN CONTROL POLICIES. Your tax-deductible donations are needed so that we can continue to fight for you. Mail checks to:

Buckeye Firearms Foundation
15 West Winter Street
Delaware, Ohio 43015

or click to donate online:


Related Documents:
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief (Case# CV-09-685734)
Notice to Attorney General Richard Cordray
Plaintiff's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and For a Preliminary Injunction
Ordinance to Include
Affidavit in Support of Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction
Exhibits in Support of Temporary Restraining Order

Historical Background:
Go-it-alone: Financially-challenged City of Cleveland sues over preemption
Cleveland police union to NRANews: We won't enforce illegal laws
Cleveland Mayor's latest theory on cause of crime wave: Statewide Preemption
The truth about Cleveland's "Assault Weapon Ban" - Part I
The truth about Cleveland's "Assault Weapon Ban" - Part II
(More) Proof Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson lies about need for local gun control
Cleveland officials lie to newspaper: Still enforcing illegal gun control laws
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's 18-21 Firearms Ownership Ban to be reintroduced
Help Buckeye Firearms stop Cleveland's abuse of law-abiding gun owners

Media Coverage:
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Gun-rights group sues Cleveland to halt firearms laws arrests

An Ohio gun-rights group wants Cleveland police to stop arresting people on local firearms charges.

The Buckeye Firearms Foundation Inc. has sued the city, saying it continues to enforce local laws that conflict with state and federal statutes. The case was filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court last week in an attempt to void 20 local laws, some dating to 1976.

The suit says that the state already has decided the gun issue but that Cleveland allows police officers to arrest people who legally possess weapons under Ohio law but do not have city-issued permits to carry a gun. The lawsuit seeks an injunction to prevent further arrests.

Robert Triozzi, the city's law director, called the lawsuit "more of a publicity stunt than a legal maneuver," adding that it continues a court fight started two years ago. He said none of the city's laws conflicts with state or federal laws.

The city has claimed that gun control is a "home rule" issue and that cities should be free to enact their own ordinances.

The suit says Cleveland cannot limit or restrain state or federal gun laws. It cites a state law that went into effect in March 2007 that says unless prevented by Ohio or U.S. law, a person may own and possess firearms.

That law, according to the lawsuit, nullifies the city's codes. On the day the law took effect, Cleveland sued the state, pushing its home-rule argument.

In January, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Timothy J. McGinty ruled against the city. The city appealed the decision to the 8th Ohio District Court of Appeals, where the order is being reviewed.

In the meantime, L. Kenneth Hanson, the attorney for the gun-rights group, said the city should stop enforcing the laws, including one that forces residents to obtain identification cards to possess guns. If residents don't have such cards but do have concealed-carry permits, they could face a $1,000 fine.

Hanson said neither state nor federal laws ever discuss an "identification card."

Triozzi says the local laws are made to ensure safety. Hanson, however, said recent shootings are "pretty compelling evidence that these laws don't work."

Gongwer News Service - Gun Rights Group Files Lawsuit Challenging Cleveland's Enforcement of Local Weapons Ordinances

A not-for-profit group has filed a lawsuit against the City of Cleveland over its continued enforcement of local ordinances that restrict gun ownership and concealed carry despite a state law that preempts such measures.

The Buckeye Firearms Foundation, Inc. has asked a Cuyahoga County common pleas judge to prohibit the city prosecutions of "law-abiding gun owners" and to declare 20 ordinances unconstitutional.

The state preemption law (HB347, 126th General Assembly) already has survived one test at the Ohio Supreme Court.

Justices issued a 4-3 opinion last year that held state law gives holders of concealed weapon permits the ability to carry handguns in any municipal park, notwithstanding city ordinances against the practice.

Despite that decision, the foundation's lawsuit said Cleveland continues "to charge and aggressively prosecute individuals who have committed no crime," and that Mayor Frank Jackson has ordered police to maintain enforcement of the ordinances.

"The mayor said, 'I don't care what state law is.' We say, 'tell it to the judge,'" said Jim Irvine, the foundation president.

"We are a nation of laws, not of men. But apparently the men running our city don't think rules apply to them," Mr. Irvine said in a news release.
"The vast majority of police officers support a citizen's right to keep and bear arms. It's unfortunate that these fine men and women have to report to a chief who is defying the law," he said.

WKYC (NBC Cleveland) - Buckeye Firearms Foundation sues the City of Cleveland

The Buckeye Firearms Foundation, Inc., an Ohio not-for-profit foundation affiliated with the Buckeye Firearms Association, has filed a lawsuit to stop the city "from prosecuting law-abiding gun owners under local ordinances that restrict gun ownership and concealed carry," a Buckeye Firearms statement reads.

The lawsuit, filed late Tuesday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and assigned to Judge Brian J. Corrigan, seeks "a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction to stop the city ... and also declare 20 different local ordinances unconstitutional on the grounds of state pre-emption of firearm laws," the statement reads.

Other named defendants include Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Law Director Robert J. Triozzi, Police Chief Michael McGrath, Director of Public Safety Martin Flask, Administrative Judge Ronald B. Adrine and David Whitehead, President of the Board of Park Commissioners for the Cleveland Metroparks.

House Bill 347, the pre-emption law, became effective in March, 2007.

It was to replace a patchwork of varied and confusing local rules with uniform laws throughout the state regulating the ownership, possession, purchase, other acquisition, transport, storage, carrying, sale, or other transfer of firearms, their components, and their ammunition.

The issue of statewide pre-emption was challenged by the City of Clyde and the case went all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court.

In its decision, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld the state pre-emption law.

Other plaintiffs include Jim Irvine, President of Buckeye Firearms Foundation, and Gilbert Croteau, a Cleveland resident. They are being represented by attorney Kenneth Hanson, of Delaware, Ohio.

Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots political action committee dedicated to defending and advancing the right of Ohio citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition and recreation.