BG has some ordinances that are contrary to state law

An ordinance prohibiting guns in Bowling Green parks isn’t the only measure on the city’s books contrary
to state law, but which is not enforced.
A new ordinance with changed language that would allow guns in the parks was tabled at Monday’s City
Council meeting until July 21. The standing ordinance as written doesn’t comply with the ORC or with
rulings by the Ohio Supreme Court.
City leaders expressed concern that not changing the ordinance could expose the city to a lawsuit they
likely could not win. The city of Clyde lost a lawsuit in 2008 over a similar issue which went to the
Ohio Supreme Court.
The issue reportedly began with an escalating series of emails sent to Bowling Green officials by a
gun-rights activist.
The question of other ordinances in the city not aligning with the ORC came up at the June 2 council
meeting when the guns ordinance received its second reading, and more explicitly again at Monday’s
"That came up at the previous council meeting when they had me standing up there," said City
Attorney Mike Marsh. "I made the statement that it had been my recommendation to do nothing"
regarding changing the ordinance.
"Just not enforce an ordinance that we know to be contrary to state law," he said.
"We have liquor laws that predate when the state took over liquor," said Marsh. "I think
Chapter 96 of the Codified Ordinances purports to regulate liquor," however the state has preempted
the field. The city does not enforce the old ordinance, he said.
Similarly, Marsh said that the city passed a smoking ban before a statewide law on the matter was passed,
and "our old ordinance is still on the books. We didn’t do anything with it. We can’t enforce it,
we don’t try."
"So to me, for the last year, my response to this character who’s been harassing everybody" is
to point to the liquor ordinance as an example.
Marsh said that the idea of leaving the gun ordinance on the books and not enforcing it is more difficult
now that the new amended ordnance has been introduced.
"I don’t know that that argument does much good now that they’ve introduced something. Again, it
changes the equation. Now there’s an issue pending. I don’t think you can go back in time and say ‘Oops,
let’s not do anything.’"
"So it’s a difficult place where they are. Unfortunately it’s been framed as a ‘yes’ vote allows
guns in the parks, which of course it does not. That’s how people seem to have come to understand the
issue. It’s not about that. It’s just conforming. The purpose of this ordinance is to conform the city
with the existing state law, a law that’s been in place for a long time, and sailed through four years
of the (Gov. Ted) Strickland administration" in Columbus.