Lebanon residents file lawsuit challenging concealed weapons in city building

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

A national organization is representing three residents in a lawsuit challenging a 2020 ordinance enacted by Lebanon City Council that ended a longstanding prohibition on carrying concealed weapons in the City Building.

Everytown Law, the litigation arm for Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, recently announced it was representing residents Carol Donovan, David Iannelli, and Brooke Handley and filed a civil lawsuit on March 31 in Warren County Common Pleas Court. The lawsuit names the city of Lebanon and City Attorney Mark Yurick as defendants, according to court records.

The city and Yurick, declined to comment on the pending litigation. They will be represented by the Finney Law Firm of Cincinnati.

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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.

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.

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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.

“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.”

Duning retired as Lebanon’s law director about 20 years ago.

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