The Ohio Tenth District Court of Appeals ruled to uphold state law on firearms uniformity overturning a ruling by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Stephen McIntosh who previously granted an injunction to Columbus blocking Ohio from enforcing “preemption” firearms laws.
According to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, the court’s ruling is a win for the state of Ohio.
“The court’s ruling assures that all Ohioans must abide by the same law, state law when it comes to firearms. Just like we argued in court, firearms owners statewide should have to follow the same rules. We applaud the decision,” Yost said.
The decision said Columbus failed to prove irreparable injury, harm to others, or public interest in seeking a preliminary injunction against Section 9.68 of the Ohio Revised Code, commonly known as the firearms uniformity law. It also blames the city’s “inartful drafting” of pleadings for the trial court’s wrongful injunction.
The three-judge bench of the appellate court criticized McIntosh for his poorly written opinion and a four-year delay in rendering his judgment on a lawsuit that Columbus filed at the beginning of 2019. Until Columbus officials pressured him, the court had allowed the case to languish for years.
The Ohio Legislature passed a gun “preemption” law in 2007 that prohibits any political subdivision, including cities, from passing their own gun control laws.
Despite the Ohio Supreme Court declaring on two separate times that preemption is lawful legislation and in no way unconstitutional, the city of Columbus sued the state in 2019, alleging that preemption infringed its “home rule” powers to regulate guns.
The judge sat on the case for years before Columbus sued the state. In the meantime, Columbus decided to pass gun control laws in the interim while acting as though the Supreme Court decisions never occurred.
In separate lawsuits, Yost and the Buckeye Institute accused the city of violating Ohioans’ Second Amendment rights to bear arms by enacting ordinances that would ban 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, and require mandatory firearm storage in the home. Also, it would penalize the straw sales of firearms when someone buys a gun to sell or gives it to someone prohibited from having one.
Executive Director of the Buckeye Firearms Association Dean Rieck applauded the court’s ruling saying the lawsuit against the state had no standing.
“We said from the beginning that Columbus’ lawsuit against the state had no merit and should not be taken seriously. And the appeals court not only criticized the judge but criticized Columbus for presenting a poorly argued case. At no point did City Attorney Zack Klein address the fact that the Ohio Supreme Court has twice ruled on this matter and found Ohio’s firearm preemption law to be valid in all aspects,” Rieck said.
According to Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein, he respects the court’s decision.
“We respect the Court’s decision and look forward to continuing to make our case on behalf of the residents of Columbus who want nothing more than to have less gun violence and safer neighborhoods,”Klein said.
The case returns to the Franklin County trial court for further proceedings.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star, The Star News Network, and The Arizona Sun Times. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]