COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther says the time for talk is over and the time to take action is now when it comes to addressing gun violence.
Columbus has seen a decline in violent crime by nearly 30% from last year and nearly 3,000 guns have been taken off the street this year.
However, city leaders say more needs to be done. In a press briefing Wednesday, leaders announced their legislative plan to target gun violence.
The legislation would prohibit the possession of a large-capacity magazine by anyone other than a federal or state agent, armed services member or a member of state or local law enforcement.
Second, this legislation promotes the safe storage of firearms. It would penalize those who fail to exercise due care in storing their firearms when they know or reasonably should know that a minor is able to gain access to them. It would also provide affirmative defenses for negligent homicide and negligent assault when a resident has properly stored their firearm.
Lastly, the city council will propose penalties for the straw sales of firearms. Councilwoman Shayla Favors says the legislation "prohibits the reckless selling, lending, giving, or furnishing of a firearm to a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm.”
The City of Columbus is taking advantage of a recent court ruling, in which a Franklin County judge granted a temporary injunction that prevents the state from using its power to tell the city what it can do as it relates to regulating firearms.
Columbus City Attorney Zack Klein is challenging a state law that prohibits municipalities like Columbus from enacting ordinances aimed at combatting gun violence.
In the March 2019 request for injunctive relief, Klein contends that the “General Assembly violated the Ohio Constitution’s Home Rule Amendment and Separation of Powers doctrine when they enacted Am. Sub. House Bill 228, legislation that would place even greater restrictions on a municipality’s ability to pass local gun ordinances than what already existed under state law.”
Then-Gov. John Kasich initially vetoed the bill in part due to concerns that the changes violate the Ohio Constitution’s Home Rule provision, which allows local governments to pass ordinances specific to their residents’ needs without the threat of intrusion from the state.
The Buckeye Firearms Association, a gun-rights lobby, has pushed back against the city’s proposals saying, “Preemption is settled law in Ohio. And the Ohio Supreme Court has already ruled on it. This is yet another attempt by the City of Columbus to override state law and pass gun control laws they have no right to pass. The city ran a study not so long ago that showed where most of the violence is coming from in the city, so what are city officials doing about that? Why do they insist on passing laws that affect the law-abiding and which criminals will never obey? Why don't they focus their efforts on the real criminals?
"The whole idea of having statewide preemption regarding firearms is to provide a consistent set of laws throughout the state, rather than a patchwork of laws that will entrap and confuse people and infringe on their Second Amendment rights. “
The Columbus Division of Police, the Columbus Division of Fire and Columbus Public Health are all in support of the city’s efforts to reduce gun violence, calling it a public health threat.
Columbus police say from Jan. 1, 2020 to Nov. 9, 2020, its shot spotter technology captured 16 incidents of automatic gun fire representing 137 rounds. This year, during that same time period, 93 incidents of automatic gunfire were detected with 933 rounds fired.
Dr. Keshav Deshpande, a trauma surgeon, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, said the hospital sees about 6,500 to 7,000 trauma patients a year. About 10%-15% of those patients have penetrating wounds, a majority of which are from gun shots.
Dr. Deshpande said the hospital normally saw gunshot victims in their 20’s, 30’s or 40’s. Today, he said most are teenagers.
He told 10TV the youngest patient he’s operated on for a gunshot injury was 14 years old.
*Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that the city wants to ban assault rifles. The information has been corrected to read that the city’s new proposed legislation would prohibit the possession of a large-capacity magazine by anyone other than a federal or state agent, armed services member or a member of state or local law enforcement.