Buckeye Firearms Association Threatens to Sue if Cincinnati Bans Bump Stocks
UPDATE Friday, May 11, 2018: It appears Cincinnati City Council actually passed the bump stock ban on Wednesday with an emergency action. There was great confusion on this issue as many reporters and Cincinnati employees claimed only a resolution or motion had passed. Buckeye Firearms Association has acquired the document with the ordinance language and will report on this further. It remains unclear whether bump stocks are illegal right now or whether there are additional administrative steps for the ordinance to become enforceable.
Cincinnati City Council passed a motion Wednesday asking the city administration to draft an ordinance banning bump stocks. Such a law would be a clear violation of Ohio state law, which overrides home rule on the matter of firearms.
R.C. 9.68, Ohio's "preemption" law, became effective in March of 2007. It replaced a patchwork of varied and confusing local rules with "uniform laws throughout the state regulating the ownership, possession, purchase, other acquisition, transport, storage, carrying, sale, or other transfer of firearms, their components, and their ammunition."
The motion is not enforceable law at this point, so bump stocks are still legal. However, if an ordinance is passed, it would be a direct challenge to R.C. 9.68.
"Preemption has been tested," said Dean Rieck, Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association. "The cities of Cleveland and Clyde have tested the law and lost in court. It's gone all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court.
"I don't know what Cincinnati City Council is thinking," Rieck continued, "but I'll tell you what we're thinking. Our organization protects the rights of 4 million Ohio gun owners. And if the city follows through and puts a ban into to their municipal code, our Foundation will file a complaint and take the city to court. They'll lose. And they'll pay legal costs which is mandated by state law. Do Cincinnati taxpayers really want that?"
A major Ohio city has already gone down this path and lost. Cleveland challenged the preemption law and, in 2010, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled against them in a 5-2 opinion, saying that Ohio's preemption law is valid in all respects, including, but not limited to, the mandatory attorney fee provision.
"This really isn't about bump stocks," said Rieck. "It's about the rule of law in Ohio. Cities can pass all kinds of laws. But they can't pass gun laws. This was decided more than a decade ago. We thought everyone understood that by now, but apparently not. So if we have to sue to once again to make the point, that's exactly what we'll do."
Rieck says he urges gun owners to start attending Cincinnati City Council meetings to voice their strong opposition to this potential ban.
Buckeye Firearms Association is a grassroots organization dedicated to defending and advancing the right of citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation.
Buckeye Firearms Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that, among other things, funds legal defense to defend gun owners against infringement of rights and litigation to force local governments and other entities to comply with Ohio gun laws. Read more.