By Melody Vallieu
TROY — Members of the Troy City Council Safety and Health Committee met Wednesday and recommended emergency legislation to ammend sections of the city’s firearm ordinances in regards to city property.
City property in question includes parks, cemeteries and open spaces such as the public pool due to the state of Ohio Revised Code allowing the practice.
Changes to the Ohio Revised Code in regards to firearms in open areas of municipal property has changed and one area resident had called for the city of Troy to change its language in its ordinance.
City of Troy Law Director Jim Livingston said the Ohio Supreme Court ruled “that a city may not, under authority of its ‘home rule powers,’ adopt an ordinance to preclude firearms from municipal property except as permitted by the Ohio revised code. It further held that municipal ordinances that conflict with those ORC statutes that purport to preclude possession of firearms from city parks are unconstitutional as conflicting with the general law of Ohio.”
“The state code pre-empts the city ordinance,” Livington said.
The statue says a municipality may exclude firearms on city property only from municipal buildings that are not used primarily as a “shelter, restroom, parking facility for motor vehicles or rest facility” and only then if it has posted signs on the building giving notice of that prohibition against carrying firearms therin.”
Livingston said although the city has not enforced the law for years, it had been called to his attention by an area resident that the ordinance was not in compliance with the ruling and the city ordinance needed updated. Livington said the man, who spoke at council on Monday, said he would sue the city if the ordinance was not updated by mid-August. Livington said he had been contact with the man for several weeks prior to the Wednesday meeting.
The Ohio Revised Code (9.68(B)) “provides for the award of costs and attorney fees to anyone who successfully challenges an ordinance limiting the right to carry firearms that conflicts with the state law.”
“The man said he would file suit,” Livington said. “He would win and the city would be responsible for his attorney’s fees.”
Livingston said the signs prohibiting firearms at these locations already have been removed.
City of Troy Service and Safety Director Patrick Titterington agreed.
“It’s the right thing to do,” he said.
Livingston also cited the Ohio Supreme Court — Citizens for Concealed Carry v. Clyde, 120 Ohio St 3d 96 (Ohio 2008) has held that “the open areas of the park, playgrounds and other such areas of municipal facilities are not buildings, and thus under Ohio law, we cannot bar firearms from such areas, just like we cannot bar firearms from restrooms, shelters and rest areas, which although they may be buildings, are areas in which the Revised Code permits firearms.”
While the Ohio Revised Code allows concealed carry in open areas such as parks and cemeteries, the city law director Jim Livingston said, “We can still, however, prohibit a person from discharging firearms in all of those areas.”