Judge rules Columbus bump stock ban violates Ohio law

The ruling could have implications for a similar law passed by Cincinnati City Council

Jul 13, 2018 at 4:48 pm

A Franklin County judge has ruled that a ban on so-called bump stocks violates Ohio's constitution.

That ruling could eventually have implications for Cincinnati, where city officials in June passed their own bump stock ban.

Bump stocks are accessories that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire fully automatically. Gunman Stephen Paddock used an AR-15 rifle modified with a bump stock during last year's mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, which killed 58 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."

Columbus City Council passed its bump stock ban in May. Gun rights groups Buckeye Firearms Foundation and Ohioans for Concealed Carry filed lawsuits against both cities in June after the bans were passed.

The groups argued that the bans violate a state law prohibiting municipal gun regulations. Officials in Cincinnati argued they weren't regulating firearms, but merely accessories that allow the weapons to fire in the same manner as illegal fully-automatic assault rifles.

Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge David E. Cain sided with the gun rights groups, ruling today that Columbus' bump stock ban violates the state preemption law. Cain late last month had ordered the law halted temporarily as he mulled his ruling.

"This is exactly what we expected," Dean Rieck, Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, said in a statement after the ruling. "We told the city that it could not pass any gun laws. But they ignored us and did it anyway. This victory is not a surprise, but it should be a warning to other cities in Ohio. Buckeye Firearms Association will not tolerate infringements against the Second Amendment and will take action against any city that passes unconstitutional laws."

But Columbus officials seem likely to challenge the ruling in a higher court.

"We appreciate the judge’s deliberation and analysis, but remain confident that bump stocks are an accessory that we have the legal authority to regulate in our city,” Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein wrote in a statement.