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Columbus vows to continue gun restriction legislation as state fights to maintain control over the issue

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Michael Saechang
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Flickr

Columbus leaders intend to move forward on gun restriction legislation while the state moves through the courts to block cities from implementing their own controls.

City Attorney Zach Klein issued a statement Friday declaring the city would continue to work on a slate of gun restrictions while Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is fighting to keep gun law policy squarely in the hands of the state.

Columbus sought and won an injunction from a Franklin County judge Nov. 2, temporarily blocking Ohio cities from implementing their own gun laws.

But that same judge on Thursday, Judge Stephen McIntosh, placed a stay on the case at the state’s request as Yost’s office appeals the temporary injunction.

Klein states the stay may halt proceedings in the county court while the appeal is processed, but it doesn't affect the injunction or limit city council from working on their new legislation.

The city's legislation would restrict magazines able to hold 30 or more rounds of ammunition for use only by law enforcement, military personnel and federal and state agents. Council is eyeing new penalties for improper storage of firearms and restricting people from buying guns for people who aren't allowed to possess them.

Klein said his office will fight to lift the stay and then work through the court to permanently enshrine local control of gun restrictions.

"The preliminary injunction remains in effect and the legislative calendar being laid out by leaders at City Hall remains unchanged. The City Attorney’s Office is ready to continue this lawsuit once the stay is lifted so that we can make the injunction against the State’s unconstitutional firearms law permanent," Klein said.

The state maintains it has the authority to block local governments from enacting their own restrictions.

Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said earlier this week city lawmakers are also eyeing red-flag laws and restrictions on AR-15 rifles in the city.

Gun rights advocates think the city is overstepping its legal authority to regulate firearms in Ohio and is using the issue to make a political statement.

Renee Fox is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. Fox joined the WOSU newsroom from the Tribune Chronicle/Vindicator in the Youngstown area, where she’d been a reporter since 2014. Contact Renee at renee.fox@wosu.org.