It kind of seems like a moot point right now, what with the ATF reclassifying bump stocks as machine guns and all that, but there’s still an effort to fight back against the city of Columbus, Ohio’s decision to ban the devices. It’s an effort that’s taking a good, long time apparently.
First, there’s whether the law can be challenged in the first place, which is a major point of contention.
It’s so contentious, apparently, that the matter is now set to be decided by the state supreme court.
The Ohio Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal over whether gun-rights groups have the ability to challenge Columbus’ ban on bump stocks.
If the court rules that Buckeye Firearms and Ohioans for Concealed Carry have standing to sue, it could open the door to other activist groups challenging local ordinances on a variety of topics.
Columbus passed its ban on bump stocks, which allow semiautomatic weapons to fire as fast as fully automatic weapons, in 2018, after a man used the device to shoot 58 people to death at a Las Vegas concert the previous year.
A Franklin County judge initially found Columbus’ ban to be unconstitutional, but a state appeals court overturned that ruling earlier this year on the grounds that the non-profit groups didn’t show that they suffered a legal injury from the ordinance, nor proved they were a “taxpayer” with legal grounds to challenge the measure.
Gary Witt, a gun-rights activist, was allowed by the appeals court to remain a plaintiff in the suit.
Honestly, the idea of standing in an instance like this annoys the hell out of me. We’re talking about whether a law is constitutional or not. What does it matter if the person filing the suit is a taxpayer or a private entity made up of taxpayers or whether they suffered legal injury? The fact of the matter is that if the law is wrong, it’s wrong.
Unfortunately, that’s how the world probably should work, not how it does work. We don’t live in a perfect world, we live in this one and so we need to adjust accordingly.
My hope, though, is that the court will rule these groups have standing and will allow the suit to proceed. Ohio is a preemption state and what Columbus did is clearly a case of a city passing their own gun control ordinance. That’s illegal under state law and the lawsuit needs to proceed to overturn that. Failing to do so could undermine the preemption law completely, not just in Ohio but throughout the nation to some degree.
Of course, Columbus isn’t the only community in the country to ignore state law. Most famously, perhaps, is Pittsburgh and Mayor Bill Peduto’s shenanigans following the Tree of Life shooting. There, Peduto seized on the incident to grandstand and pass an assault weapon ban despite Pennsylvania’s preemption law.
Columbus did it first, though, and now it’s time for them to get the proverbial smackdown over it.
Let’s hope the court rules in a way that lets that happen.