A Kentucky gun-rights group filed a lawsuit against Winchester and the Board of Commissioners last week, claiming the city’s ordinance keeping firearms from city parks violates state law.
The suit was filed Feb. 26 by Kentucky Concealed Carry Coalition, a non-profit group based in Frankfort that has members living in Winchester, according to the suit.
The group claims the city’s ordinance banning archery or the possession or discharge of firearms, fireworks or air weapons in any city or county park is in violation of a state law approved last year.
The statute, which was approved as House Bill 500 by the state legislature, prohibits any “existing or future city, county, urban-county ... or any person acting under the authority of any of these organizations” from regualting “the manufacture, sale, purchase, taxation, transfer, ownership, possession, carrying, storage or transportation of firearms, ammunition, components of firearms, components of ammunition, firearms accessories or combination thereof.”
The bill also includes a clause that any ordinances in violation of that law should be repealed within six months of it becoming law on July 12, 2012. The group said the deadline passed on Jan. 12 and the city has not repealed the ordinance.
Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner said the ordinance was approved in 2009 by the city Board of Commissioners and the Clark County Fiscal Court as a joint ordinance at the request of the Parks and Recreation board. The ordinance includes a number of other items, including setting the hours of the parks and fines for violations.
Clark County officials were not named in the suit.
Burtner, who said he was served with the lawsuit last week, said the state law prevents from local jurisdictions from “inhibiting” people from carrying concealed weapons on city property.
“We plan to take it up with the city attorney and we will respond appropriately,” Burtner said.
According to the group’s blog, five other suits have been filed against Louisville, Fort Thomas, Warsaw, Fort Mitchell and Woodford County for either illegal ordinances or illegal signage.
The group is asking for an injunction to keep the city from enforcing the ordinance, a declaration that the city’s ordinance is null and void, and legal costs.
Contact Fred Petke at email@example.com.