Ohio Concealed Carry Fee Challenged by Two Gun Owners

(CN)—Two gun owners are challenging Ohio’s longstanding law that imposes a fee to obtain a concealed carry license and also prohibits gun owners from accessing loaded firearms from inside a vehicle.

Jeff Daly and Chris Jarvis, both from Hamilton County, say they tried to apply for a concealed carry license without the payment fee on May 18. They said they were told by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office that the fee would not be waived because the waiver only applies to law enforcement officers or retired officers.

Daly and Jarvis filed a lawsuit against Hamilton County Sherriff Jim Neil and Lt. Clint Arnold Monday in federal court, as well as Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters.

In the suit, Daly and Jarvis challenge Ohio’s restriction that prevents them from possessing a loaded firearm in a private vehicle and/or discharging a firearm from a vehicle for the purpose of self-defense.

Daly said he lives in Colerain Township where there have been robberies at stores in his neighborhood.

He said in the complaint that it if it weren’t for Ohio law, he would carry a pistol while driving his vehicle to protect himself and his family. Daly said he has not done so because he fears prosecution and arrest.

Jarvis, who is disabled and wheelchair bound, has been assaulted and thrown from his wheelchair several times by criminals, according to the lawsuit.

Though he has limited use of his legs, Jarvis says that he has full mobility of his hands. He also qualifies for Social Security benefits and lives in poverty.

Like Daly, Jarvis said he meets the state’s qualification to own, purchase and bear firearms.

The two gun owners say Ohio’s gun law violates their Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights. In the 14-page complaint, they cite District of Columbia v. Heller where the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Second Amendment conferred an “individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”

They also said there is disparity in the fee charged as a result of Ohio’s fee exemption to law enforcement officers and retired law enforcement officers, but not to other people.

Daly and Jarvis are represented by Christopher Wiest in Cincinnati.

Wiest said in a statement that “the state cannot charge a fee to exercise a fundamental right.”

“There is no alternative but to pay the fee to exercise that right in a private automobile.  Thus the imposition of the fee is unconstitutional,” he said.

The attorney also noted that the state exempts police and retired law enforcement officials from paying the fee.

“If the imposition of the fee in question is not necessary and narrowly tailored to further a compelling state interest (which it cannot be if the state creates a class of people who are exempt), it cannot withstand constitutional muster,” Wiest said via email. “And whatever arguments the state may make about retired law enforcement likely apply equally to Mr. Daly who is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.” (Parentheses in original.)

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday evening.

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