Gun groups file suit against Columbus, Cincinnati for "unlawful" gun laws

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The city of Columbus is being sued.

“What’s at stake here is the integrity of Ohio’s Revised Code 9.68 and Ohio law in general,” Chuck LaRosa said.

LaRosa is with Ohioans for Concealed Carry, which is one of two groups suing the city. The other is Buckeye Firearms Foundation. The pro-gun groups are taking aim at the city and City Attorney Zach Klein because of its “common sense” gun laws.

“We are, in sense, operating within the bounds of the laws as it explicitly says,” Klein said.

Klein says state and federal laws were studied before presenting the laws to council in April. They were approved and took effect last week.

One part of the new laws bans bump stocks and firearms accessories. According to documents obtained by 10TV, that’s one reason for the lawsuit. LaRosa says according to ORC 9.68, people can keep any firearm and it’s components or parts. LaRosa says a bump stock is considered a “part.”

“And, surprisingly enough, Columbus’ ordinance itself calls it a part,” LaRosa said. “It should be plain as day.”

LaRosa says another part of the lawsuit deals with what’s classified as a misdemeanor. He says all felonies must be state law. However, the new laws in Columbus bump some state and federal felonies to a misdemeanor in order for the city to have jurisdiction.

“They’re making a state felony into a misdemeanor, which is actually going easier on gun crimes, which is the opposite of what they say they want to do,” LaRosa said.

Klein says the new laws will not affect law-abiding gun owners and, instead, are only aimed at those with criminal or violent histories, or those who are the subject of a protection order.

“By definition, those are the people we don’t want to have guns in the hands of,” Klein said.

Ohioans for Concealed Carry and Buckeye Firearms Foundation also say the implementation of the new laws is an inappropriate and unlawful expenditure of city funds.

They’re hopeful a judge will rule the laws are unlawful and will reward them a monetary settlement for legal fees.

“So far, the judges have always ruled in our favor,” LaRosa said. “We don’t do this to lose.”

Klein says the city is ready to defend itself.

“We feel very comfortable,” he said. “We’re going to defend that vigorously and ultimately a court will decide, but we’re going to put our best foot forward and make our legal argument how we’re making Columbus safer by constitutionally and statutorily following Ohio and federal law.”

The groups’ lawsuit in Cincinnati is aimed at a similar city ordinance that bans bump stocks, according to LaRosa.

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