COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Columbus leaders said local gun legislation is needed to make the city safer, introducing three proposals they describe as common-sense gun safety legislation.
But not everyone is on board with the proposals.
The three proposals were introduced earlier this month, and on Tuesday, there was a public hearing for them at City Hall.
“This is what this situation demands,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther. “This is the response our residents deserve.”
Tuesday was the first opportunity for the public to share feedback.
“This is about keeping guns out of the wrong hands, advancing gun safety, and most importantly, protecting our community,” said City Councilmember Shayla Favor, chairperson for the Criminal Justice and Judiciary Committee.
Favor and other city leaders said the three proposals brought to the table this month are about safety and reducing gun violence.
“This is not anti-gun; this is pro-safety,” said Council President Shannon Harding.
“Do not let Columbus be added to the ever-growing list of tragedies in the country,” said Columbus resident Grace Shults. “Pass these commonsense gun regulations most Ohioans want and, once again, will save lives.”
The proposals include banning civilians from having magazines that can hold 30 or more rounds, punishments for those not safely storing guns when they know a child could get them, and criminalizing straw sales.
“This is, again, just political posturing,” said Buckeye Firearms Association Executive Director Dean Rieck. “I don’t think most crime in most cities are committed with anything other than handguns, which is something that’s been true for a long time. They just don’t like ARs and they want to ban them.”
Due to ongoing litigation surrounding state law which prevents local governments from making their own gun laws, Rieck also questioned if Columbus can even take this action.
“Columbus has no legal authority to do any of this, and frankly, I think it’s irrelevant,” he said. “What they’re trying to do is to say their spike in violent crime, especially in 2020, was somehow the result of recent firearm laws passed at the statehouse.”
“We have a unique opportunity and, frankly, a responsibility to do something about it,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. “Others have failed at the state level, we will not fail here. We will proceed until we’re told otherwise by a court to stop.”
There were six people who spoke during public comment, all in favor of the proposals. Another six sent in written testimony, five of them against the proposals.
As of now, council is planning to vote on the proposed legislation on Dec. 5.