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Judge Temporarily Blocks Cincinnati's Bump Stock Ban

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  Updated: July 25, 12:06 p.m.

A Hamilton County Judge is stopping Cincinnati officials from enforcing a recently approved ordinance banning the possession, use or sale of bump stocks in the city.  

Judge Robert Ruehlman issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday and said he'd hold a hearing on making it permanent in October. He says it comes down to a simple question.

"Does the city ordinance violate or come in conflict with the state law -- that's all we're dealing with here," Ruehlman said. "It has nothing to do with how I feel, or how anybody feels, about gun violence in the city, or gun violence in the nation; or how I feel, or anybody feels, about what happened in Law Vegas. We're not talking about that."

Bump stocks, or trigger activators, can make a semi-automatic weapon fire at a rate like that of an automatic weapon. Such devices were used during the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas last October.

One section of the measure states the Ohio Revised Code "prohibits municipalities from regulating the ownership, possession, or sale of firearms, their components, and their ammunition, but does not restrict municipal regulations on firearm accessories or attachments."

The ordinance states "trigger activators are not firearm components or parts that are essential to the function of a weapon."

But opponents of the city ordinance say those devices do become components of a firearm once they are installed.

Attorney Sean Maloney, representing gun owners, said Ohio lawmakers crafted the law to make sure gun laws are uniform across the state.

"We as firearms owners can't drive throughout the state of Ohio wondering if we're violating the law now," Maloney said. "Because the laws change between Cincinnati, Toledo, West Chester, Western Hills, or wherever we happen to be that day."

Assistant Cincinnati Solicitor Terry Nestor said the question before the court is about home rule, or the city's ability to make local laws and regulations.

"Does Cincinnati have the authority to pass a law that regulates dangerous gun accessories that are tools of mass destruction," Nestor said. "That is the question in this case."

Earlier this month, a judge in Columbus overturned two gun control laws approved by the city council there in May.

WOSU reported that Franklin County Judge David Cain ruled that municipalities can't regulate gun accessories like bump stocks under state law. 

The same groups that are opposing the Cincinnati ordinance had also filed a lawsuit to stop the Columbus measures.


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Jay Hanselman brings more than 10 years experience as a news anchor and reporter to 91.7 WVXU. He came to WVXU from WNKU, where he hosted the local broadcast of All Things Considered. Hanselman has been recognized for his reporting by the Kentucky AP Broadcasters Association, the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and the Ohio AP Broadcasters.