Saturday, September 16, 2000

Gun seller challenges 2 cities' limits

Says state law trumps their ordinances

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — Peter Garrett, a gunsmith and federally licensed firearms dealer, is challenging Bellevue and Dayton, Ky., ordinances banning the retail sale of firearms from central business districts in both cities.

        Mr. Garrett, who operates Peter Garrett Gunsmiths Inc. on Monmouth Street in Newport, filed separate law suits Friday against each city to permanently enjoin them from enforcing the ordinances, which were passed this year.


        Mr. Garrett's attorney, Bruce McClure, said the basis for the lawsuits is a section of the Kentucky Revised Statutes that preempts local governments from regulat ing anything relating to firearms.

        KRS 65.870 states: “Local Firearms Control Ordinances Prohibited — No city, county or urban-county government may occupy any part of the field of regulation of the transfer, ownership, possession, carrying or transportation of firearms, ammunition, or components of firearms or combination thereof.”

        In his lawsuits, Mr. Garrett said he applied for occupational licenses in both cities to expand his firearms repair and sales businesses to those areas, but was denied in each case because of the ordinances.

        Dayton Mayor Bobby Crittendon said Friday he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on what the city might do.

        “We passed that ordinance some time ago because of all the school shootings involving children,” Mr. Crittendon said. “Firearms sales are permitted on property near the river, but not in the business district.”

        Bellevue city officials did not immediately return calls from the Enquirer Friday.

        The suit seeks permanent injunctions from Campbell Circuit Court preventing the cities from enforcing the ordinances. Because the suits were filed separately, Judge Leonard Kopowski and Judge William Wehr will each hear one of the actions.


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