COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio law that prevents cities from implementing their own gun control measures cannot be enforced in Columbus, a county judge ruled.
The law is an “unconstitutional infringement upon municipal home-rule,” Franklin County Judge Stephen L. McIntosh said in his ruling Wednesday temporarily blocking the law in the state’s capital and largest city.
The ruling “upholds the city’s constitutional rights to protect its community from gun violence,” City Attorney Zach Klein said. He applauded the ruling as a “first step” toward helping quell gun violence in the city.
As the case continues, the city plans to argue the court should make the temporary injunction permanent.
The state plans to appeal the Wednesday ruling, which affects only Columbus, a city of just over 900,000 people in a state of nearly 12 million.
“The city of Columbus remains part of the State of Ohio and subject to its laws,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in an emailed statement.
At issue is an expansive 2018 law that created additional gun rights for Ohioans, including placing the burden of proof on prosecutors rather than the defendant when someone claims they fired in self-defense. Republican lawmakers overrode former Gov. John Kasich’s veto of the legislation to make it law.
It included a provision that restricted local governments’ abilities to enact gun control measures. Columbus officials sued the state over that part of law in 2019, saying it violated the rights of cities to govern themselves under the Ohio Constitution.
Samantha Hendrickson is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.