An Ohio state judge has thrown out a case against a 29-year-old pizza
delivery driver arrested last fall for carrying a concealed handgun,
ruling that the state’s law governing the right to use and carry a
handgun for protection is flawed and “unconstitutional.”
In his May 22 decision, Judge Thomas Crush said delivery man Patrick
Feely — arrested last September for carrying a gun under his shirt —
had a constitutional right to protect himself while working a job with a
high risk for robbery. He then threw out the charges against Feely.
According to a
Cincinnati Enquirer report, Crush said Ohio’s concealed weapons law is flawed because it does not distinguish between criminals and people who carry guns for their own protection.
Feely said he felt threatened and endangered because his job frequently took him to high-crime neighborhoods and he often carried cash. Consequently, he said, he bought a gun about five years ago for self-defense. When he was arrested, he was also carrying a knife, police said.
“Everybody nowadays needs some kind of protection from criminals,” Feely said Tuesday, following the favorable ruling. “You need to be able to defend yourself.”
The problem has to do with an inherent conflict in Ohio law. Although the Ohio Constitution allows citizens to carry a gun to protect life and property, state law prohibits people from carrying a concealed weapon under any circumstances.
Noting that, under existing law, citizens must go on trial to prove whether or not they carried their firearm legally, Crush, in his ruling, said, “An honest person in a difficult or dangerous job must subject himself to trial like a criminal. It’s treating decent citizens like criminals.”
Crush also said law-abiding citizens in Ohio ought to be permitted to carry a concealed weapon, but that it was up to state legislators to make that decision. Nevertheless, he believes lawmakers should address the discrepancy before others are caught in a similar dilemma.
At the time of his arrest, Feely was working for a Cincinnati company that supplies pizza, subs and sandwiches to street vendors. Police had stopped his car for an expired license plate and noticed a knife in the vehicle. When the officer asked whether he had any other weapons, Feely told him about the gun.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said the police officer acted appropriately when he arrested the delivery driver, but he agreed the law may need some fine tuning.
“Perhaps it is something the legislature should take a look at,” Allen said.