COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The city of Columbus is clashing with state lawmakers over home rule, as several Ohio politicians seek to block the city’s restrictions on guns and flavored tobacco.
Columbus city leaders said the state lawmakers shutting down two of their newest ordinances in 24 hours has them ready to fight back.
“We have seen a constant barrage and attack from the state legislature on cities,” Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said. “The state legislature wants to tell us what to do and doesn’t believe in local rule, and I think that is not only problematic from a policy perspective, because local government knows best on how to represent its citizens, but it’s also just blatantly unconstitutional.”
Thursday, a Fairfield County judge placed a temporary block on Columbus’ newly passed gun legislation banning magazines with 30 or more rounds, penalizing those who fail to store firearms safely and criminalizing straw sales.
The judicial block comes after Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed an appeal against the ordinance.
“This request of the court is strictly a matter of the law – as state law supersedes what Columbus is attempting to do here,” Yost said in a statement. “The city has knowingly and deliberately overstepped its legislative authority.”
Dean Rieck, the executive director of Buckeye Firearms, said the organization is pleased with the decision.
“Not only does state law forbid political subdivisions from regulating firearms, but the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled on this matter and declared that state ‘preemption’ law is valid in all respects,” Rieck said. “Plus, Columbus and other cities have been successfully sued over this matter.”
Rieck said city leaders are acting as if the law does not apply to them. But Klein disagrees.
“We are going to continue to plow ahead to figure out how we can come up with common sense safety regulations,” Klein said.
Another battleground for the City of Columbus and the state is flavored tobacco sales.
Early Thursday morning, lawmakers passed a bill that would stop Columbus’ ban on flavored tobacco sales from moving forward.
“The home rule provisions are in the Ohio constitution for a reason,” Klein said. “In order to protect local rule and home rule, we are going to fight tooth and nail to preserve that because we believe in the Ohio constitution.”
In a statement, City Council President Shannon Hardin said the “council is hopeful that Governor DeWine will stand up for kids by vetoing this legislation.”