COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — One local gun rights activist is calling a Franklin County judge’s temporary injunction against part of a state self-defense bill “meaningless.”
One day after a judge granted the city of Columbus’ 2019 motion to block part of a gun law it claims violates the city’s right to pass ordinances, Eric Delbert, owner of L.E.P.D. firearms, expressed his discontent with the decision.
“To have a patchwork of laws in place, to have each city be able to make up their own little nuance, when it comes in regards to firearms laws, is something that will not work,” Delbert said.
Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Stephen McIntosh granted the temporary preliminary injunction Thursday, more than three years after the city of Columbus first filed a lawsuit against the state law, House Bill 228. In the original lawsuit filed by Columbus city attorneys, the city argued H.B. 228 in part prohibited Ohio cities and towns from pursuing local ordinances that would combat gun violence, saying it violated “home rule” and other doctrines in the Ohio Constitution.
“The city should have the ability to regulate themselves, we have themselves, we have a sense of self government,” Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said.
Klein said the decision is a necessary step to addressing widespread gun violence and keeping local communities safe. But Delbert disagrees.
As a gun shop owner, Delbert said this ruling won’t prevent criminals from getting their hands on guns. He argued it would only confuse and complicate ownership laws for gun owners, wherever they go throughout central Ohio.
“We can’t have the city of Columbus having a magazine capacity ban, and the city of Upper Arlington banning this, and the city of Worthington banning this, and for the legal gun owner, in the normal course of their driving home, go through 10 different jurisdictions, and not knowing whether they’re legal or not,” said Delbert.
However, Klein said he believes opening a dialogue between the city and residents on establishing “common sense” gun laws will lead to stronger gun reform.
“Now moving forward, we are able to have these conversations with faith leaders, community leaders and the division of police to figure out exactly what regulations do make sense,” said Klein.
Delbert said he hopes gun owners and activists are explicitly included in those conversations.
“We want to be brought into the mix,” Delbert said. “I mean, how can you solve the issue when you’ve left the experts sitting on the sidelines?”
In a press release Thursday, Klein said his office “looks forward to presenting its case” once the court of common pleas releases its briefing schedule.