COLUMBUS, Ohio — The green light is still glowing, according to City Attorney Zach Klein, as he continues to advise Columbus City Council to proceed with their proposed gun-control plan despite a judge’s ruling Thursday.
The proposed legislation targets gun violence in the city and would prohibit the possession of large capacity magazines to ordinary citizens, limit ammunition purchases and mandate gun safety locks. However, Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Steven McIntosh ruled that the proceedings in the case between the state of Ohio and the City of Columbus should be halted not the preliminary injunction he granted last two days ago.
“Surprising to us, the judge ruled on that motion without giving us the opportunity to respond. So essentially the judge has said 'Hey, we are not going to do anything else in this case, the injunction is still going to stay you go to the court of appeals and figure it out',” said Klein.
The state has filed an appeal in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeal to stop the city from regulating guns, claiming Ohio law says it’s the job of the state.
“We are going to proceed as normal that has not changed because of this order,” said Klein.
Under a plan unveiled earlier this week by the city council, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther, the Columbus Division of Fire and the Columbus Division of Police, 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, the 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 would 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.”
But not everyone is convinced the city’s plan will work.
Eric Delbert owns L.E.P.D Firearms & Range, which wouldn’t be impacted by the city’s order because his shop isn’t located in the city.
“Will it affect crime on the streets? Absolutely not. The criminals today aren't worried about prosecution or the lack thereof. They are not going to be worried about carrying a magazine that has one extra round,” he said.
Delbert said while the city's intentions are good, he doubts that mandating gun locks will do anything.
“Those people who aren't doing it aren't typically the ones aren't law-abiding people to begin with and I don't think it’s going to have the impact they wish it to have,” he says.
Delbert sees other problems. If Columbus passes one set of rules and a neighboring city passes a different variation, that will only make it harder for the law-abiding gun owner to comply as they travel between cities. He says the problem gets worse if cities across the state adopt their own rules.
“The whole notion of home rule is we work for the citizens of Columbus we are elected to do what we think is best,” Klein said.
*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.