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Judge places hold on Ohio law limiting local gun restrictions

A gun tucked into a person's waistband.
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Columbus city leaders are celebrating a Franklin County judge’s ruling that puts a temporary hold on the state law barring cities from passing many gun restrictions.

The ruling from Judge Stephen McIntosh is only temporary, but for now it blocks a state law that Democrats and gun control groups have often criticized for banning cities from passing gun restrictions that supersede state rules.

A 2018 amendment to a 2006 state law preempts “any such further license, permission, restriction, delay, or process” which “interferes with the fundamental individual right described in this division and unduly inhibits law abiding people from protecting themselves, their families, and others from intruders and attackers and from other legitimate uses of constitutionally protected firearms, including hunting and sporting activities.”

The Ohio Supreme Court previously upheld the original 2006 law.

The judge said the Columbus challenge to the 2018 amendment is likely to be successful in claiming the law violates the state’s home rule doctrine, so he granted the request for a temporary injunction as the case plays out.

Columbus leaders originally filed the request for a temporary injunction in 2019 and sued last week over court delays. The Thursday ruling means the city is dropping that lawsuit.

“We respect the Court’s decision and stand ready to continue to advocate on behalf of Columbus residents, families and young people who have told us loudly and clearly that they want their leaders to do something to disrupt the flow of illegal guns into our streets, keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals, and enact commonsense reforms that make our communities safer,” Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said in a written statement.

In 2019, Columbus and Cincinnati each enacted a slate of local gun laws, including a ban on bump stocks. Several gun rights groups sued to block the laws from taking effect, but their claims were thrown out on appeal.

Steve Brown grew up in nearby Richwood, Ohio and now lives there with his wife and sons. He started his journalism career as a weekend board operator at WOSU while majoring in journalism at Ohio State, where he also wrote for the student newspaper The Lantern and co-founded the organization Students for Public Broadcasting.