Columbus Files Yet Another Lawsuit Seeking to Infringe Gun Rights
Here we go again.
On the heels of Judge David M. Gormley's ruling to prohibit the city of Columbus from enforcing its unlawful firearm ordinances, Columbus has filed another complaint against the state of Ohio.
Like its first complaint filed in 2019, the new complaint seeks to turn back Ohio's "preemption" law in ORC 9.68, which Buckeye Firearms Association helped to pass, so that Columbus and other cities can make up their own local gun laws. However, the new complaint also attacks the emergency power legislation we passed last year which prevents state and local governments from infringing on Second Amendment rights during declared emergencies.
While the two complaints are technically different cases, they boil down to one basic idea. Despite the Ohio legislature clearly signaling that it wants one consistent set of gun laws in the state, despite the Ohio Supreme Court twice telling cities they can't regulate firearms, and despite Columbus losing in court over bumpstocks, Mayor Ginther and city leaders continue to advance the argument that they are special and shouldn't have to obey Ohio law.
If you're keeping score, Columbus has now filed two cases against the state, and Buckeye Institute has filed a case against Columbus. These cases are in Franklin, Fairfield, and Delaware Counties. And let's not forget that Cincinnati has filed a case against Ohio in Hamilton County.
How does all this court confusion work itself out? What happens when judges in different counties issue conflicting rulings? It seems more likely than ever that these cases could be combined and go to the Ohio Supreme Court so that, for the third time, they will rule on the matter of preemption.
We can hope that this time around, assuming the Ohio Supreme Court rules against Columbus and Cincinnati, the justices issue a strong rebuke against city leaders who continue to ignore Ohio law and court precedent.
It is our opinion that these leaders, including Mayor Ginther, City Attorney Klein, and city council members, know full well that they are in the wrong and will eventually lose these cases. They are engaging in the most cynical sort of political grandstanding to create the illusion they are responding to rising murder rates.
To make matters worse, they don't for a moment believe the laws they have passed and seek to enforce will have any effect at all on violent crime, which their own research shows originates with known criminals and gangs.
In fact, in a recent Columbus Dispatch article, police Deputy Chief Smith Weir is reported to have admitted that " ... the majority of gun-related crime in the city is committed by people with illegally possessed firearms." So what difference would Columbus' laws on gun storage or 30-round magazines make?
None at all.
Dean Rieck is Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, a former competitive shooter, NRA Patron Member, former #1 NRA Recruiter, and host of the Keep and Bear Radio podcast.