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Columbus Officials Push Back Against Proposal To Block Local Gun Control

Adora Namigadde
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein and state Rep. David Leland announce their opposition to HB 228, which would limit local gun control.

Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein and state Rep. David Leland are criticizing HB 228, a measure that would establish Ohio as a "Stand Your Ground" state while limiting local gun control measures.

Last month, the City of Columbus announced 11 new firearm ordinances, including measures prohibiting gun sales in residential neighborhoods and a ban on selling imitation firearms to minors.

But HB 228 would stop local governments from passing gun laws. According to the Columbus Dispatch, the bill clarifies that "any local firearm regulation that interferes with a right to bear arms is preempted by state law" and expands the list of gun activities regulated solely by the state.

“If they’re looking to prohibit cities from passing laws on keeping a firearm or carrying a firearm, that strikes at the heart of what we’re trying to do,” Klein says.

The House Federalism Committee heard the bill Tuesday afternoon. But Klein says state laws don't do enough to keep guns away from people with violent criminal histories and the city's efforts are necessary to fill in the gaps.

“We should be targeting the criminals who have violent, dangerous backgrounds and violent, dangerous histories proven in a court of law from possessing and carrying a violent weapon," Klein says. "That’s about as common sense as it gets."

Klein urges Columbus City Council to go through with passing the proposed ordinances.

“All 11 of these ordinances should still be considered by council and my recommendation for them is to still move to passage," Klein says. "For several reasons. One, we recognize the legislative process. This is a bill in committee. It has not yet had the committee vote, it has not had the General Assembly vote.”

Gov. John Kasich has threatened to veto HB 228, which removes the requirement for a person to try and retreat before using lethal force in self-defense. He's encouraged cities and local governments to act on gun control, but Columbus officials

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.