AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File
In May of last year, the city of Columbus, Ohio, banned bump stocks within the city. This came prior to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) decision to reclassify bump stocks as machineguns, thus rendering local and state laws redundant. As per usual, the law became the focus of a lawsuit almost immediately.
Filed by Ohioans for Concealed Carry and the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, the lawsuit won its initial court case. The city, however, appealed. That didn’t turn out so well.
In July 2018, Judge David Cain ruled the bump stock ban was unconstitutional, but the misdemeanor ordinance was enforceable.
On Thursday, the 10th District Court of Appeals sided with Columbus saying the groups did not have the standing to sue the city.
“Since the passage of Columbus’ gun safety ordinances, we have been in a long legal battle to protect them,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. “We will continue to fight and prove that both the ban on bump stocks and our law that keeps guns out of the hands of domestic abusers are common-sense safety measures that are not preempted by state law. We are pleased with the Appellate Court’s decision today, and are glad these protections will be in place for our community.”
In a statement to 10TV, Ohioans for Concealed Carry spokesperson said, “Remanding this back to the lower courts only serves to drive the legal cost up. Ohioans for Concealed Carry has proven the merits of this case which involved statewide preemption many times in the past up to and including the Supreme Court. We have no reason to believe we won’t prevail again this time. We will be meeting with lawyers and board members very soon.”
With preemption on the table, I don’t see what justification any judge could have to uphold the law. Preemption means the state reserves the authority to create and modify gun control laws, rather than allowing an incomprehensible patchwork of gun laws to overtake the state. Columbus doesn’t have the authority under state law to ban anything.
Frankly, a lack of standing is the only legally defensible possibility for kicking the case. Potentially, anyway. I’m not sure of the minutia of the case, so I can’t say if standing exists or not. Further, I’m not a lawyer, I didn’t play one on TV, and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so take that with a grain of salt.
Regardless, this isn’t the end of the world. If the pro-gun appeal fails, what we’re left with is that a local ordinance that reflects federal law stays on the books. However, I also get the decision to appeal. You want to establish precedence. You don’t want to allow something like this to stand if you can help it because it will embolden other cities and also lay the groundwork for undermining preemption in general.
That can’t be allowed if at all possible. It’s vital that effort be put in to overturn this law and remind local officials to stay in their lane when it comes to gun laws.