City of Columbus Votes to Pass Gun Control Laws Despite Questions of Its Legality

Columbus City Council passed a package of gun control legislation Monday night despite a judge’s order to cease any such action.

Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, City Attorney Zach Klein, and City Council President Shannon G. Hardin announced their proposition of “common sense” laws to reduce gun violence last month.

The proposition came mere days after Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Steven McIntosh sided with the city of Columbus in a ruling that deals in part with Ohio’s “preemption” laws, which forbid cities and other political subdivisions from regulating firearms.

The newly passed measure includes a ban on magazines that hold 30 or more rounds by anyone other than a federal or state agent, armed services member, or a member of state or local law enforcement, mandatory firearm storage in the home. Also, it penalizes the straw sales of firearms when someone buys a gun to sell or gives it to someone prohibited from having one.

Council member Emmanuel Remy said the measure is a small step to help reduce violence in Columbus.

“We are all working very hard to try to end the violence in the city. These are just small steps that will help us get there. We all have to work together,” Remy said.

Council member Nick Bankston said gun control is personal to him as he is a victim of gun violence and a gun owner.

“If you are a gun owner if you are a gun activist this is common sense, this is not to take away folks’ rights we don’t have unfettered rights in this country they all have checks and balances and this one is no different,” Bankston said.

Gun rights advocates, such as the right-leaning Buckeye Firearms Association, say that the City of Columbus is “blatantly flouting both state law and a judge’s orders.”

In 2007 the Ohio legislature enacted Ohio Revised Code Section 9.68, commonly referred to as firearm “preemption.” This portion of state law specifically forbids cities and other political subdivisions from regulating firearms, their parts, ammunition, and knives.

“Columbus has no legal authority to pass gun control laws. This is settled Ohio law that has already been litigated up to the Ohio Supreme Court, which stated that preemption is valid law in all aspects. Plus, the state legislature has addressed this issue on multiple occasions, making it clear that they want firearms to be regulated at the state level only. This is to assure that there is one consistent set of laws rather than a patchwork of laws to confuse and entrap law-abiding citizens,” Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association Dean Rieck said.

Commenting about this case, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said, “The City of Columbus remains part of the State of Ohio and subject to its laws.”

The Buckeye Firearms Association says it has already won in court against Columbus and other cities over this same issue.

“It is time for city officials to stop wasting taxpayer dollars in their futile effort to flout state law. They are trying to blame elected members of the Ohio House and Senate for a spike in violent crime in Columbus. And they are trying to pass laws that violent criminals will not follow and which will only impact law-abiding members of the community,” Rieck said.

According to a report completed last year by the city of Columbus in partnership with the National Network for Safe Communities, 17 gangs with about 480 members were behind nearly half of Columbus 2020 homicides.

“City leaders know who is responsible for their spike in violent crime. Why aren’t they using this information to tackle crime directly instead of passing new gun laws criminals won’t follow?” Rieck said.

The Buckeye Firearms Association says it will fight the court and the legislature over these ordinances.

The legislation now goes to  Ginther for his signature.

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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]




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