Columbus amends unlawful gun ordinances

Columbus keeps violating Ohio law, says give up 'large capacity' magazines by July 1

Columbus' elected city leaders are continuing with their willingness to violate state preemption law and the Ohio Supreme Court when it comes to local firearms ordinances.

City Council on Feb. 27 voted 7-0 to amend its illegal December ordinance “to correct a minor drafting error and to allow for disposition of previously legally acquired large capacity magazines ...”

Council in December passed local laws to ban “large capacity” magazines — those capable of holding 30 rounds or more — and to mandate “safe storage” of firearms.

The city's new ordinance also puts in place a July 1 deadline to forfeit such magazines.

The amended legislation reads in part:

No person who lawfully acquired or possessed a large capacity magazine prior to December 5, 2022 shall be prosecuted for lawfully possessing a large capacity magazine in violation of section 2323.32 prior to July 1, 2023. Any person who may not lawfully possess a large-capacity magazine as of December 5, 2022, shall, prior to July 1, 2023:

(1) Remove the large-capacity magazine from the City limits; or

(2) Prior to July 1, 2023, sell the large-capacity magazine to a licensed firearms dealer located outside of the City limits; or

(3) Surrender the large capacity magazine for destruction by reporting the possession of the large capacity magazine to the Columbus Division of Police, describing the large capacity magazine in the person's possession and where the person may be found, and voluntarily surrendering the large capacity magazine to the Division of Police.

Violations could mean jail time and fines

According to city code, failure to properly secure a firearm could result in a fourth-degree misdemeanor, which could mean 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

But failure to comply with the new magazine law could result in a “misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail with a mandatory minimum jail term of at least one hundred eighty (180) consecutive days during which mandatory jail term the defendant shall not be eligible for work release and up to a $1500 fine.”

That's right: The city can violate state law, but if you violate the city's laws, you get jail time and/or a hefty fine.

Some cities get it: Upper Arlington updates ordinances to comply with Ohio gun laws

Meanwhile, the Buckeye Institute filed a lawsuit against the city in Delaware County Common Pleas. Parties have until March 7 to file additional briefs, according to court records. (Search for case No. 23 CV H 02 0089.)

The city apparently has no problem with using residents' tax dollars on lawsuits. Monday's agenda also included action to settle a lawsuit for $440,000.

Columbus leaders living in fantasy land, at taxpayers' expense

Part of the city's new gun ordinances include a section called “Alternate large capacity magazine provision if Ohio Revised Code Section 9.68 is reinstated.”

Apparently, they don't realize that 9.68 is active. It does not need to be "reinstated." And in addition to prohibiting local gun laws, 9.68 lays out the remedy for anyone charged for violating one of those illegal ordinances.

“A person, group, or entity adversely affected by any manner of ordinance, rule, regulation, resolution, practice, or other action enacted or enforced by a political subdivision in conflict with division (A) of this section may bring a civil action against the political subdivision seeking damages from the political subdivision, declaratory relief, injunctive relief, or a combination of those remedies. Any damages awarded shall be awarded against, and paid by, the political subdivision.”

Columbus leaders surely know their actions are going to cost them. The question is, in this hyperlocal election year, will voters realize that the cost is actually theirs and demand their elected officials stop with the useless virtue signaling and instead wisely use funds to fix the roads?

It is important that you keep an eye on what your local leaders are doing with your money and your rights, especially this year, when council, school board, county, and township leaders' seats are up for election. Let us know about any firearms legislation passed in or under consideration in your community.

Joe D. "Buck" Ruth is a longtime small-game hunter and gun owner who spent nearly three decades in the news industry.

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