Cincinnati City Council votes to ban bump stocks

The gun accessory, which allows semi-automatic weapons to fire at a higher rate of speed, hasn't been linked to shootings in Cincinnati. But a bump stock was used in the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas that killed 60 people.

click to enlarge Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld
Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld

In a 7-2 vote today, Cincinnati City Council asked city administration to ban bump stocks in the city limits, becoming the first city in Ohio to do so.

The move comes as an intense debate around gun control continues across the country following a number of mass shootings, including the February school shooting in Parkland, Fla. that killed 17 people. That shooting has sparked nationwide protests advocating for stricter gun laws, including a local demonstration outside City Hall that drew thousands of people.

"There comes a time when people need to decide if some perverted interpretation of the 2nd Amendment granting anyone the right to own what's basically a machine gun overrides the right of people to stay alive and not be gunned down by a weapon of war," said Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who proposed the ordinance. "No city should tacitly condone a device which is specifically intended to maximize carnage. I'm proud that Cincinnati has stepped up to lead the charge on this common sense reform, joining just a few other cities across the country."

The trigger activation devices allow weapons to fire at a higher rate of speed, effectively making them automatic weapons. Mass shooter Stephen Paddock used a bump stock during his 2017 rampage in Las Vegas, which killed 58 people at a concert.

Council members Amy Murray and Jeff Pastor voted against Sittenfeld's legislation. Pastor argues that the city's coming law will violate a 2007 state preemption on municipal ordinances that override state laws on guns. That could expose the city to legal challenges, he said.

The Ohio Supreme Court in 2010 ruled with the state after Cleveland challenged the preemption as it sought to enact stricter gun laws. It isn't clear, however, if the state restriction applies to firearm components like bump stocks.

"Glad to join @ElectAmyMurray at Council voting against legislation that will lead @CityOfCincy to be sued for passing ordinances that violate Ohio Revised Code 9.68 re: bump stock bans while legislation is pending in Congress and State House," Pastor tweeted out following the vote.

Denver and Columbia, S.C. have passed similar laws, as has the state of Massachusetts and Connecticut, where lawmakers yesterday approved a ban. Last year, following Paddock's mass shooting in Las Vegas, the Trump administration announced it was mulling a federal ban on bump stocks, though that process is still in progress and has received pushback from gun rights groups.

Council today also rejected another gun control measure — a mostly ceremonial motion opposing reciprocity with other states when it comes to recognizing out-of-state concealed carry permits. Democrat Councilman Wendell Young, usually a reliable ally to fellow progressives on council, balked at the resolution.

"Denying people the right to lawfully carry a firearm (via concealed carry) is farther than I'm willing to go," he said.

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