The city of Columbus today filed a lawsuit against the state of Ohio to halt legislation enacted last year because it limits the ability municipalities have to enact local gun ordinances.
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein says House Bill 228 eviscerates the basic principle of home rule.
“It’s a blatant attempt to crush our authority as local leaders to pass laws that address the needs of our citizens in our community,” Klein said. “It’s home rule and guns today. It can be home rule and the environment tomorrow, or home rule and land use. It doesn’t matter what the issue is. Cities have the ability to govern themselves and do what is best for our citizens. That’s the basic tenet of local control and representative democracy.”
At risk Klein says are two pieces of legislation the city passed about a year ago to curtail gun violence; the banning of bump stocks and keeping guns out of the hands of anyone convicted of domestic violence. Columbus Mayor Andy Ginther says reducing gun violence requires constant efforts to make firearms safer and to limit access by people who are most likely to misuse them.
“It’s a bit absurd isn’t it,” Ginther asked. “We’re actually arguing about whether or not people who beat their spouses, their intimate partners, and their children should have access to guns. And that folks who are mentally ill and have a history of violence should have access to weapons. Think about that. Let that sink in. We aren’t willing to take a stand when there’s bipartisan, common-sense gun safety laws - things that we can do right now to protect the people in our neighborhoods, and we don’t. Even worse, when local officials take a stand and honor the wishes of the people of their community, the state guts those gun safety laws.”
On December 28, the Ohio General Assembly voted to override then Governor John Kasich’s veto of House Bill 228. The bill, which takes effect March 28, also shifts the burden of proof in self-defense cases to the prosecution. The legislation had strong support from pro-gun groups, including the Buckeye Firearms Association.