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Posted: 11/29/2001 7:58:31 PM EDT
Associated Press And Highway patrol is against it also...surprise.[:/] CINCINNATI (AP) -- A private investigator and other citizens who sued months ago to challenge Ohio's ban on carrying concealed weapons are to get their day in court today as their case goes to trial. Judge Robert Ruehlman expects to hear at least two days of testimony in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court from gun-rights supporters in the case. The plaintiffs include the Second Amendment Foundation of Bellevue, Wash., which is paying for the lawsuit, and Ohioans for Concealed Carry. Defendants include Ohio, Cincinnati and Hamilton County, in which the city is located. The defendants intend to defend the current state law vigorously, said Richard Ganulin, an assistant city solicitor. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a Washington-based organization that supports gun control, is helping argue the city's position. Last year, Ruehlman responded to the lawsuit by issuing a temporary order forbidding city police and the county sheriff from enforcing the ban. An appeals court overruled Ruehlman's order, freeing police to resume enforcing the law and sending the case to Ruehlman for trial. Chuck Klein, a private investigator who filed the lawsuit and plans to testify in support of it, said yesterday he hopes the court action will prod the legislature into allowing citizens to obtain permits for carrying hidden weapons. An Ohio House committee is considering legislation that would allow most Ohioans to carry hidden guns. The proposal is considered unlikely to come to a floor vote before January. Klein has been joined in the lawsuit by a pizza-delivery business owner, a fitness trainer, a hair stylist, a factory worker and several others who say they need to carry weapons for self- defense. They say they do business in higher- crime neighborhoods, sometimes after dark and when they are alone. Ohio law allows only law-enforcement officials or officers of the state and federal government to carry concealed weapons. Klein and other plaintiffs say the law violates the Ohio Constitution by forcing people arrested for carrying a concealed gun to clear themselves by justifying their possession of a weapon. Forty-three states allow some form of carrying concealed weapons. Some of those states require permits, firearms training or police approval before a handgun can be obtained. Vermont does not require any license for carrying concealed weapons. Missouri voters in 1999 rejected a ballot issue that would have legalized carrying concealed weapons in that state. Kentucky and Indiana, which are neighbors to Hamilton County, allow people to carry concealed weapons. The State Highway Patrol is among the police organizations opposing a conceal-and-carry law.
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