OBERLIN, OH — A gun fight in one Lorain County community is drawing controversy.
Oberlin city leaders must decide whether to keep a local gun ordinance that is different from Ohio’s concealed carry law. The current Oberlin law prohibits guns in city parks, which has been on the books for 15 years.
Gun rights advocates gathered at Park Street Park in Oberlin Sunday to say that the Oberlin gun ban should be repealed. They say it conflicts with Ohio law that allows people to carry guns in public places, including parks.
Gary Witt with Ohioans for Concealed Carry said if laws differ from community to community, those who carry guns could be subject to arrest.
“What the state has done has made everything uniform throughout the state. When the legislature passed the law, the people of Oberlin and the council of Oberlin didn’t want to respect that,” Witt added.
John Blocker of Oberlin was enjoying the day at the park with his wife and two sons. Seeing people openly carrying guns in the park did startle him at first.
The gun rights gathering came one day before Oberlin City Council is to decide whether to rescind the local law banning guns in parks.
“So, if they do not repeal that law and it stays on the books, then these people could not be here with weapons, or they still could because the state law supersedes it? That’s kind of confusing to me,” Blocker said.
Oberlin resident Michael Fritz said he realizes the city law is in conflict with state law, but that Oberlin City Council should keep the law in place.
“I am approaching this from a spirit of neighborliness and communitarianism where I think most people would agree there really is no need to be walking around in the park with guns,” Fritz added.
Oberlin City Council is expected to vote on the gun ban issue Monday night.