Ohio is Caught Up in a Big Legal Fight About Local Gun Control

On August 15, 2023, the Ohio Tenth District Court of Appeals  overturned and kicked back to a Franklin County judge a case that is part of a protracted legal battle between the City of Columbus and the state over whether the city has the power to enact and enforce local gun control laws.

Back in April, a Delaware County judge barred the city from enforcing gun control restrictions rendering the recent ruling from the appellate court moot. 

A segment of southern Delaware County in the Polaris area is part of the city of Columbus. The ruling by a panel of three appellate judges, two Democrats and one Republican, vacated a preliminary injunction blocking the state’s law issuance by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Stephen McIntosh.

In a statement, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, described the ruling as an important victory for Ohio gun owners.

“The court’s ruling assures that all Ohioans must abide by the same law,  state law, when it comes to firearms,” Yost commented. “Just like we argued in court, firearms owners statewide should have to follow the same rules. We applaud the decision.”

Following the Ohio legislature’s passage of a “preemption” law prohibiting local municipalities from passing their own legislation curtailing gun ownership, Columbus filed a lawsuit against the state back in 2019. The city government contended that the Ohio General Assembly’s actions infringed on Columbus’ “home rule” rights that voters approved in an amendment to the Ohio Constitution. The Columbus Dispatch reported that city of Columbus has imposed gun control measures in complete violation of the state’s preemption law: 

“The Ohio Supreme Court has twice previously upheld the preemption law, but Columbus continued to pass gun restrictions, most notably a package in December that bans high-capacity magazines, criminalizes leaving guns unsecured around children and prohibits selling guns to somebody when there is reasonable cause to believe they cannot legally own a gun.”

Ohio is slightly above average when it comes to gun rights in America. According to Guns & Ammo magazine’s best states for gun owners rankings, Ohio is ranked in 22nd place. Similarly, the state has gone decidedly to the Right in the last decade, which makes it very difficult for gun control to be passed in the state legislature. 

Instead, gun control will have to be passed at the local level by rogue municipalities that gun controllers have their sights set on. That’s how gun politics is breaking down in many red states and gun owners must be ready to push back against these schemes. 

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