Ohio Supreme Court upholds law blocking city gun bans

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Reuters) - The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld as constitutional a state law that prevents Cleveland and other cities from passing restrictive gun laws.

In a 5-2 decision, the court found that the 2006 law does not infringe on the “home rule” powers of Ohio cities.

The court ruled that the state statute “is a general law that displaces municipal firearm ordinances and does not unconstitutionally infringe on municipal home rule authority.”

The ruling overturns a lower court decision. Gun control advocates were critical of the decision and tied it to campaigns by the National Rifle Association, a powerful national lobbying group against gun control.

“This is part of an NRA effort to get guns into more places and to take away the power of local citizens to decide what their gun laws will be,” said Daniel Vice, senior attorney for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group.

Asked if the Ohio decision would be appealed to a higher court like the U.S. Supreme Court, Vice said that he needed to study the decision, including part of the ruling which directed the lower court to review the city of Cleveland’s position.

Before Ohio passed the law, Cleveland had a number of ordinances regulating guns, including requiring firearms to be registered and forbidding anyone from openly carrying a gun.

The city had argued before the Ohio Supreme Court that the state statute infringed on its home rule powers and was an abuse of legislative power.

Writing by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Jerry Norton and Peter Bohan