Columbus City Council Approves Gun Control Measures

May 14, 2018

Columbus City Council has signed off on a slate of proposals intended to curb gun violence. The ordinances enjoyed the support of all council members, and easily passed 6-0 in the Monday night vote.

The council’s list includes banning the sale of imitation firearms to minors and prohibiting gun shops in residential areas. It also imposes a ban on accessories like bump stocks, which can turn semi-automatic rifles like AR-15s into automatic weapons.

Under another proposal, the city cracks down on hot spots by adding violent felony offenses to existing nuisance codes used to take over problematic properties.

In a tweet Monday night, Ginther applauded Council for passing the "common sense ordinances."

Speaking before the vote, City Council president Shannon Hardin said that after a spike in violent crime, the council felt it had to act. Columbus saw 143 homicides in last year, the highest in city history.

“More than 80 percent of those were committed with a gun,” Hardin says. “And so we felt it was important as a community as a city and as a council to have a conversation about how do we keep our neighborhood safe.”

State law, meanwhile, carries a 2006 provision pre-empting local governments from passing gun control measures more restrictive than Ohio laws. But City Attorney Zach Klein says by adopting federal language, the city’s ordinances won’t violate the state restriction.

“The Ohio Revised Code says 'except as provided by federal law,' so we’re saying federal law allows us to do that,” Klein says. “So we’re just simply mirroring federal law that allows us to pass this weapons under disability ordinance.”

That provision empowers law enforcement to confiscate weapons from violent offenders. For a number of charges, Ohio doesn’t prohibit firearm possession where federal law does. The new ordinance matches the language of federal statutes.

Columbus City Council hosted a town hall last month to gather citizen comments on the proposed ordinances, although the event was not widely advertised nor listed on the council's public events calendar.

This story was updated from an earlier version published before Monday's vote.