COLUMBUS, Ohio — One of the biggest obstacles facing public health boards in Ohio is the inability to pass health orders involving groups of people. That was taken away when lawmakers passed Senate Bill 22.
But while the bill stopped health departments from issuing public health orders, it said nothing about property.
"SB 22 does not any way mention limitations on regulations of items or properties simply persons regulations that deal with the firearms as opposed to the firearm the owner also falls well within SB 22," Columbus Solicitor General Rich Coglianese said.
Coglianese says public health departments by statute have the power to abate nuisances and believes Columbus can prove that gun violence is a nuisance. If successful, he said, the Columbus Board of Health could find a way to address the issue of gun violence without having to sue gun manufactures.
Coglianese called SB 22 an unconstitutional usurpation of the home rule authority of the city and the Board of Health.
Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts called gun violence a public health crisis and is urging city leaders to work together to find a solution to a problem that is taking the lives of too many of the city's youth.
"People in our community are dying at very young ages because of guns so we need to see what more we can do in our community from a public health perspective to reduce this from happening," she said.
According to the Columbus Division of Police, homicides are down from May 2021 to May of this year. Columbus stands at 47 homicides compared to 67 last May at this time.
On Sunday, one person was shot near downtown when gunfire rang out near the Taco Festival in Genoa Park.
City leaders plan to have several meetings in the future about addressing gun violence and plan to bring national experts sometime this summer to advise them on what tools other cities are using to address gun violence.
The Columbus Division of Police says it plans to bring back the Police Athletic League this year.