Arrest of man for handling gun while drunk at home is upheld

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The arrest of a man handling a weapon while he was drunk in his own home was constitutional, a divided Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

An attorney for defendant Fred Weber had argued his 2018 arrest was unconstitutional because he was at home and the weapon was unloaded at the time.

Weber never should have been charged or convicted under current law, since there was no evidence the shotgun was being carried with an intent to use it, his attorney argued.

Prosecutors disagreed and said the law was constitutional as applied to his situation.

By handling his weapon while he was drunk, Weber scared his wife enough that she felt compelled to call police, prosecutors argued.

The Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that the state law banning the possession of a weapon while intoxicated regulates “inherently dangerous” conduct and does not impinge on broader Second Amendment rights.

The law “is a targeted restriction that prohibits a narrow range of conduct (carrying or using a gun) for a very limited period of time (while someone is in a state of intoxication) due to the inherently dangerous nature of carrying or using a gun while in that state,” Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor said, writing for the majority.

Gary Rosenhoffer, Weber's attorney, said they're weighing their options, including asking the high court to reconsider or asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case.