Lebanon council hires law firm to represent city in gun ordinance case

The top of city hall in downtown Lebanon, Ohio. STAFF FILE PHOTO
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The top of city hall in downtown Lebanon, Ohio. STAFF FILE PHOTO

A Cincinnati law firm has been hired to represent the city in a civil action claiming Lebanon abused its corporate powers when it repealed the longstanding prohibition against carrying concealed weapons inside the Lebanon City Building.

During a work session Monday, Lebanon City Council approved the hiring of the Finney Law Firm to defend the city and City Attorney Mark Yurick in the civil litigation filed last month in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

ExploreLebanon residents file lawsuit challenging concealed weapons in city building

In the ordinance to hire the outside law firm, council will “vigorously defend” in this civil claim. Council believes it is in the best interest of the citizens of Lebanon to defend the ordinance “to protect the fundamental individual right of all individuals to keep and bear arms,” and further so that “law abiding people” may “protect themselves, their families, and others without fear of prosecution or civil action.”

In March 2020, Lebanon council enacted an ordinance that authorized the concealed carry of handguns within Lebanon’s city building, except during the operation of the Lebanon Municipal Court.

Everytown Law, the litigation arm for Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, announced last month it was representing residents Carol Donovan, David Iannelli, and Brooke Handley and filed a civil lawsuit on March 31 against the city and Yurick, according to court records.

The lawsuit alleges the ordinance conflicts with state laws prohibiting concealed carry in government buildings that contain courtrooms. Lebanon’s City Council meets in the Lebanon Municipal Court courtroom on the second floor of the City Building, 50 N. Broadway St. Ohio law prohibits concealed carry at all times within courthouses and buildings that contain courtrooms.

ExploreLebanon close to permitting concealed weapons at council meetings

“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 lawsuit is in the preliminary stages and there was no updated information about the case on Tuesday morning on the Warren County Clerk of Courts website.

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