Columbus council approves new gun-control law amid questions over its legality




  • In US
  • 2022-12-06 11:11:10Z
  • By The Columbus Dispatch
Columbus City Hall
Columbus City Hall  

The Columbus City Council passed new gun-control legislation Monday by a unanimous 7-0 vote, but the measure's legality is going to be reviewed by an appeals court as the city and state are at odds over whether the state constitution's "home rule" provision allows the city to set such restrictions.

Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Stephen L. McIntosh, who failed to act for some three years on a lawsuit filed by the city of Columbus over the state General Assembly's passage of a law that leaves the power to regulate guns to the state, finally granted a temporary stay on the state law after the city filed a civil complaint against him with the Ohio Supreme Court.

Within days of that decision, however, McIntosh stayed his previous decision while the state appealed, leaving the legality of city council's latest action Monday in question.

The law as adopted by the council would:

  • Add to the crimes of negligent homicide and negligent assault "storing or leaving a deadly weapon" in one's residence in a manner in which a minor could reasonably be anticipated to gain access to it. Storing weapons in a safe, gun case or with a trigger lock would be presumed to have exercised due care. Violators face a third-degree misdemeanor, or - if a juvenile gains access to the weapon - a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Having a weapon on them in their home or in their "immediate control" is not a violation.

  • Ban "large capacity magazines" that can hold 30 or more rounds, or can be converted to accept that many rounds. This misdemeanor would result in a mandatory 180 consecutive days in jail without work release, and potentially up to one year, and a $1,500 fine.

  • Prohibit anyone from recklessly selling, lending, giving or furnishing a firearm to any other person who is known or there is reasonable cause to believe they can't legally possess it. A violator could face a first-degree misdemeanor.

Citing the 2019 Dayton shooting, in which a gunman with a 100-round magazine killed nine and wounded 27 in just 30 seconds before police shot him, Columbus Council Member Shayla Favor called the ordinance "common sense."

"Since then, numerous mass shootings have taken place all over this country, and Columbus has not been immune to gun violence," Favor said, noting that 90% of the city's record 205 homicides last year involved guns. "...We have seen how gun violence has ripped through our communities, especially among our youth."

"There's just simply no reason for ordinary citizens to possess military-grade weapons," she added later.

Almost immediately after McIntosh's ruling in favor of Democrat-controlled Columbus, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, went to court to block the ruling. At Yost's request, McIntosh stayed the preliminary injunction he previously had granted the city.

"This matter is before the Court upon motion by Defendant State of Ohio to stay the preliminary injunction. ...Defendant's motion is well-taken and GRANTED. The Court hereby STAYS all proceedings," McIntosh wrote.

Yost's office has said that means everything is on hold pending appeal. But Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein has said the order "does not affect the city's ability to move forward" on gun-control legislation.

Dean Rieck, executive drector of Buckeye Firearms Association, has said that state law blocks cities from crafting and enforcing their own gun laws.

"The City of Columbus is blatantly flouting both state law and a judge's orders," Rieck said in a prepared statement Monday evening after the council's vote.

Favor said she has been asked if she's worried about the legal challenge from the state, but she maintains that "if one life is saved, if one of our children have the ability to go to high school, to go to college, to do whatever their life calls them to do, this is worth the risk to me."

@ReporterBush

wbush@gannett.com

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Columbus City Council passes gun-control law despite legality issues

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