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Residents Sue Lebanon, Ohio over Ordinance Allowing Hidden, Loaded Handguns in City Council Meetings

3.31.2021

LEBANON, Ohio — Everytown Law, the litigation arm for Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, today announced it is representing three residents of Lebanon, Ohio in a lawsuit challenging a 2020 city ordinance that ended the longstanding prohibition on carrying hidden, loaded handguns in the city’s municipal building, including during city council meetings.

The suit, filed Wednesday in the Warren County Court of Common Pleas, alleges the ordinance conflicts with state laws prohibiting concealed carry in government buildings that contain courtrooms. Lebanon’s city council meets in the courtroom of the city’s municipal building. 

The Lebanon-based law firm Gray & Duning is local counsel in the suit.

“The residents we represent ask only that the city comply with state laws intended to keep courthouses and similar government buildings safe,” said Len Kamdang, director of litigation strategy and trials for Everytown Law. “People should be able to take part in the democratic process without the threat of violence or intimidation.”

“The decisions made in our city building affect every facet of life in Lebanon, from how our tax dollars are spent to local business and community relations,” said Bill Duning, partner of Gray & Duning, which represents the residents along with Everytown Law. “All of us have a stake in these decisions being made without even the fear of violence or intimidation, and all of us should be able to attend public meetings about our community without having to wonder if someone in the room is carrying a firearm they haven’t properly secured.”

In March 2020, Lebanon’s city council enacted an ordinance that authorizes the concealed carry of handguns within Lebanon’s city building, except during the operation of the Lebanon Municipal Court.  As the complaint alleges, however, Ohio law prohibits concealed carry at all times within courthouses and buildings containing courtrooms.  The plaintiff residents, who attend or have attended city council proceedings held in the municipal courtroom, are asking the court for a declaration that the ordinance conflicts with state law and an injunction restraining its enforcement.