YOUNGSTOWN Concealed-weapon hearing set
Prosecutors argued that the concealed-weapon law does not violate constitutional rights of those who carry guns.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Prosecutors say Ohio's law against carrying concealed weapons is valid, so a weapons charge against a city man should stick.
"It's only a restriction on the manner in which a weapon is carried, not a restriction against carrying them entirely," said Michael Maillis, assistant Mahoning County prosecutor.
At issue is the case of James A. Williams Jr. of East Lucius Avenue, who was indicted by a county grand jury in January on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon.
Court records say city police found a loaded 9mm handgun under the seat of Williams' car during a traffic stop on Market Street in November 2001.
Williams' attorney, Jeffrey Adler, filed a motion in April asking that the charge be dismissed. He cited a recent decision by the 1st District Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which ruled that Ohio's law against concealed weapons is unconstitutional.
The 1st District ruling says the concealed-weapons law does not merely regulate, but effectively prohibits law-abiding citizens from bearing weapons under any circumstances.
But in a written response to Adler's motion, Maillis said that's not true, that the law does allow weapons to be carried openly in some circumstances.
"Although Ohio citizens clearly have the right to bear arms for their defense and security, there is no fundamental right to carry a concealed weapon in Ohio," Maillis wrote in his motion.
He said the concealed-weapon law is designed to protect citizens and law enforcement officers. Making it illegal for people to carry hidden weapons is a means to that end.
Maillis also said a decision from the 1st District Court is not necessarily binding in Youngstown, which is part of the 7th appellate district, which has not found the concealed-weapon law unconstitutional.
"While decisions by one appellate court may be followed by another district, if the principles of law announced in a decision are inherently wrong, the decision need not be followed," Maillis wrote in his opinion.
A hearing on the matter will be June 7 before Judge James C. Evans of common pleas court.