Buckeye Institute sues Columbus over unlawful, unconstitutional gun laws

Lawsuit filed against Columbus over unlawful, unconstitutional gun laws

On Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, The Buckeye Institute filed a lawsuit against the city of Columbus to protect the rights of Ohioans to keep and bear arms after the Columbus City Council passed Ordinance 3176-2022 outlawing certain firearms magazines in violation of Ohio law and the U.S. and Ohio constitutions.

Doe v. Columbus was filed in the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, along with a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.

"The Ohio Constitution and the U.S. Constitution explicitly protect our right to keep arms for our defense and security, and Ohio's general assembly has passed laws to prevent just this type of local government infringement on these rights. Yet, the city of Columbus insists on infringing on Ohioans' fundamental right to keep and bear arms to protect ourselves," said David C. Tryon, director of litigation at The Buckeye Institute and an attorney on the case.

"In passing Ordinance 3176-2022, Columbus City Council has once again tried to circumvent our clients' rights, along with the rights of all law-abiding Ohioans, by enacting excessive and improper restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms — threatening jail time for those who don't comply. These constitutional violations must be declared null and void."

In Doe v. Columbus, The Buckeye Institute represents five residents of Central Ohio who are not named because Ordinance 3176-2022 has made their previously lawful possession of the prohibited magazines illegal. Buckeye's clients are:

  • A former National Firearms Association instructor, who is a senior citizen and is well versed in safe firearms handling and usage, including firearms accepting magazines holding 30 rounds or more of ammunition;
  • An owner of a rifle that is kept for self-defense and which has a 30-round magazine;
  • A person who is confined to a wheelchair due to a disability and who cannot easily reload a firearm when defending against home invasions;
  • A former social worker who is Muslim has a firearm for self-defense and security in the face of rising incidents of anti-Muslim discrimination and hate crimes; and
  • An African-American woman who, after an assault, purchased a firearm that uses a 30-round magazine for her protection.

The Buckeye Institute argues in its lawsuit that Ordinance 3176-2022 violates Ohio law, which the Ohio Supreme Court has twice upheld against home rule challenges, and "unequivocally requires uniform firearms laws in the State of Ohio." The ordinance further violates the due process clause in the Ohio Constitution and Article I, Section 4 of the Ohio Constitution.

Additional information on preemption litigation:

Columbus leaders' hypocrisy: We won't follow law, but you must follow ours

Cincinnati Files Suit Over Preemption, Intends to Enact Gun Control Laws

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