Columbus Leaders Announce New Proposal on Gun Restrictions

Democratic leaders in Columbus proposed new legislation on Thursday to extend gun restrictions in the city.

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.

The announcement comes just 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.

Specifically, Ginther said they seek to ban AR-15-type rifles, limit magazine size, mandate gun locks, impose universal background checks, and pass red flag laws.

“Today we are taking local action to reduce gun violence in Columbus. 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,” Ginther said.

The legislation would restrict magazines able to hold 30 or more rounds of ammunition for use only by law enforcement, military personnel, and federal and state agents.

Also proposed are new penalties for improper safe storage of firearms, and a ban on so-called “straw man sales” of guns to those who may not legally possess them.

Ginther said they are also considering red flag laws and exploring options for restricting certain rifles, such as AR-15s, and that the measures are designed to save lives.

Gun rights advocates, such as the right-leaning Buckeye Firearms Association, say that the City of Columbus is misleading the public about the recent court ruling and overstepping its legal authority to regulate firearms in Ohio.

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

The ruling by Judge McIntosh states:

“The Court agrees that R.C. 9.68 unconstitutionally infringes upon the Plaintiff’s right to exercise its zoning powers. Paragraph (D) specifically permits municipalities to regulate the sale (emphasis added) of firearms, firearm components or ammunition for firearms in areas zoned for residential or agricultural uses. It does not specifically grant municipalities zoning to limit gun manufacturing in areas zoned residential and agricultural.”

The Buckeye Firearms Associations said that this ruling deals with firearm manufacturers setting up shop in a residential neighborhood only, and that the ruling does not negate Ohio Revised Code 9.68.

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

Rieck added that Ohio cities do not have the legal authority to regulate firearms, firearm components, ammunition, or knives. The state legislature has addressed this issue on multiple occasions and has stated 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,” Rieck said.

The State of Ohio filed a notice of appeal and motion to stay the temporary restraining order issued by Judge McIntosh pending the appeal in the Tenth Appellate District.

Last week, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said, “The City of Columbus remains part of the State of Ohio and subject to its laws. Ohio will appeal.”

The Buckeye Firearms Association say that they have 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,” Rieck said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the firearm injury death rate in 2019 was 15.2 (per 100,000).

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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].
Photo “Shannon Hardin” by Shannon Hardin. Photo “Andrew Ginther” by Andrew Ginther. Background Photo “Columbus Skyline” by SkiEngineer. CC BY-SA 4.0.




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One Thought to “Columbus Leaders Announce New Proposal on Gun Restrictions”

  1. Ohio Historian

    “Common sense” in Flavortown? Do I laugh now or after the crime in the streets goes up AGAIN? Columbus used to be on the high murder rae in the US (2019). After 30 years of single party (Democrat) rule. So prosecute the illegal guns, and leave our legal guns alone.