Columbus proposes gun restrictions in wake of court ruling

State gun-rights group said the ruling does not give the city authority to regulate firearms.
A woman with a gun

The city of Columbus wasted little time to take advantage of a recent court ruling that allows Ohio cities to pass gun restrictions, but a state gun-rights group said the ruling does not give the city authority to regulate firearms.

The proposed new regulations come less than a week after a judge blocked a 2018 state law that prohibited municipalities from creating their own drug restrictions, responding to a lawsuit filed more than three years ago.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said the new regulations would address longstanding issues of community violence and close the gap between state and federal gun laws, protecting domestic violence victims and removing weapons from neighborhoods.

“Today we are taking local action to reduce gun violence in Columbus,” Ginther said. “Every person in every neighborhood deserves to be safe. These proposed new laws bolster the work of the Comprehensive Neighborhood Safety Strategy and get more guns out of the hands of those who misuse them.”

However, the Buckeye Firearms Association believes the court decision does not allow the city to create new restrictions.

"Our reading of this ruling is that it is narrowly focused on the issue of municipal zoning for firearm manufacturers," said Dean Rieck, executive director of Buckeye Firearms Association. "It is not a green light for Columbus or other cities to pass gun control laws.”

The new legislation would prohibit possessing large-capacity magazines, requires secure storage when a gun owner should not there is a chance a main could gain access to a gun and prohibits straw sales of firearms.

Straw sales, according to the ATF, is when someone buys a gun for someone who is prohibited by law from possessing a gun or for someone who does not want their name associated with the sale.

“Gun violence plagued Columbus’ neighborhoods in 2017, yet the Statehouse handcuffed responsible local officials, preventing them from enacting the most basic gun safety laws. We are proud to stand with Mayor Ginther and City Attorney [Zach] Klein to put forth specific steps to reduce the number of guns on the street and keep our neighborhoods safe,” Columbus City Council President Shannon Hardin said.

The Buckeye Firearm Association believes the ruling deals only with firearm manufacturers selling in residential neighborhoods.

“The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled on the matter of preemption and agreed that cities cannot pass their own gun laws,” said Rieck. "In addition, 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."

As previously reported by The Center Square, Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Stephen L. McIntosh temporarily blocked part of the state law that stops cities from creating local gun restrictions.

That ruling came more than three years after Columbus filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a bill passed by the General Assembly in 2018.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a notice of appeal last week.