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Gun Rights Group May Sue Columbus Over Gun Control Laws

Damian Dovarganes
Associated Press

A prominent Ohio gun rights group is threatening to sue Columbus after City Council passed a number of gun control measures.

At its Monday night meeting, Columbus Council unanimously signed off on 11 new gun ordinances, including banning bump stocks, prohibiting gun sales in residential areas, and adding new restrictions against firearm possession.

Chuck LaRosa of Ohioans for Concealed Carry says they’re considering a legal challenge.

“OFCC has sued other municipalities. We’ve always won, and I’ve got no reason to think that this one would be any different,” he says.

An Ohio law enacted in 2006 prevents local governments from passing gun control measures more restrictive than the state’s regulations.

“Localities are making their own gun laws, and we’ve worked very hard to get gun laws in particular to only be enacted at the state level,” LaRosa said.

But City Attorney Zach Klein says that Ohio Revised Code 9.68 explicitly allows for “the exception of state and federal law.” By filling in the gap between Ohio and federal gun regulations, Klein argues, Columbus doesn’t violate the code. And he’s ready to fight any lawsuit.

“We’re simply following the law, and we believe this is legal and constitutional. And we stand ready in court to defend it,” Klein said.

Cincinnatipassed a bump stock ban last week, becoming the first Ohio city to do so. Council members there argued that the Ohio Revised Code "does not restrict municipal regulations on firearm accessories or attachments."

Columbus saw a record 143 homicides last year, 80 percent of which involved guns.

Gabe Rosenberg joined WOSU in October 2016. As digital news editor, Gabe reports breaking news and edits all content for the WOSU website, as well as manages the station's social media accounts.