Officials in Columbus, Ohio are doubling down on their attack on the state’s firearm preemption law by amending an already-challenged local ordinance barring the sale and possession of “large capacity” magazines to mandate that current owners either dispose of them, permanently modify them, or hand them over to police by July 1st.
The Columbus ordinance defines “large capacity” as any magazine that can hold 30 rounds or more, but the council doesn’t plan on stopping there. The current ordinance is more of a test case to try to overturn Ohio’s preemption law, and if the courts give the green light then there are far more infringements ahead.
As it stands, though, this ordinance does come with some teeth that could bite many legal gun owners who live or even travel through the city, especially since the courts have so far refused to halt enforcement.
According to the Dec. 5 legislation, anyone possessing a magazine that can hold 30 or more rounds would be charged with a misdemeanor with a mandatory 180 consecutive days in jail without work release, with a potential sentence of up to one year, and a $1,500 fine.
On Jan. 20, a Fairfield County judge denied the state of Ohio’s request for a preliminary injunction to block the city’s gun restrictions.
As a result, those restrictions were set to go into place at midnight Jan. 21, according to [city attorney Zach] Klein.
On Feb. 16, The Buckeye Institute, a conservative think-tank, filed suit in Delaware County Common Pleas Court challenging the Columbus gun restrictions. Part of Columbus sits in Delaware County.
David Tryon, The Buckeye Institute’s director of litigation, had no comment on the legislation passed on Monday.
Tryon said the suit was filed in Delaware County, a more conservative county than heavily Democratic Franklin County, because it was the appropriate county for this type of legislation. Asked to expand on that, he said, “I’d like to leave it at that.”
The Ohio Supreme Court has previously upheld the state’s firearm preemption law, but that hasn’t stopped both Columbus and Cincinnati from approving new gun-related ordinances in recent months. In fact, their latest ordinances are part of a broader effort on the part of the gun control lobby to undo preemption laws, which allow for a uniform set of gun laws across a particular state. Democrats in Colorado repealed their preemption law in 2021, while anti-gun politicians in Florida recently lost a bid to overturn the state’s preemption law when the Florida Supreme Court rejected their arguments and upheld a law that allows for sanctions against elected officials who approve local gun control ordinances in violation of the preemption statute.
Anti-gun lawmakers have also introduced measures to either repeal or weaken existing preemption laws in a number of states this year, including Washington and Oregon, but with Ohio firmly in control of Republicans anti-gun activists can’t look to the legislature for help as they did in Colorado. Instead, they have to use the courts, as unlikely as it may be that the state Supreme Court is going to reverse itself.
I expect that those judges will weigh in on the request for an injunction well before the July 1st deadline just imposed by the city of Columbus, and I doubt you’ll see a lot of folks rushing to comply with the city’s edict either before or after. I am curious to know why Zach Klein isn’t touting the large number of “large capacity” magazines that have been taken off the streets since the city’s ordinance was allowed to take effect back on January 21st, however. If these magazines were really the issue Klein and other anti-gun officials claim they are, you’d think they’d be able to point to the dozens of magazines they’ve confiscated over the past month, but Klein’s office hasn’t issued a single pronouncement to that effect even though he keeps his staff busy writing regular press releases. It sure looks like this “common sense gun safety measure” is completely unnecessary (not to mention unconstitutional), at least from a public safety perspective. For someone looking to build a name in Democratic circles and perhaps a donor base for future campaigns, however, I guess the mag ban makes a little more sense.