COLUMBUS (WCMH) – After a record 143 homicides in the city in 2017, Columbus City Council felt compelled to do something.
Monday night, Council voted unanimously to pass four ordinances meant to help curb gun violence in the city.
The ordinances will:
- Ban bump stocks
- Ban the sale of imitation guns to minors
- Address properties with a history of violent crimes
- Expand the definition of domestic violence to try to keep guns out of the hands of those convicted of domestic violence
Phil Mulivor, a spokesman with Ohioans for Concealed Carry, called the city council’s action political grandstanding. “They have enacted an illegal ordinance,” Mulivor said.
Mulivor said changes in firearms law have to be made at the state level. Other municipalities in Ohio have tried to enact similar local laws in the past. “They’re always shot down,” Mulivor said. “They’ve been shot down by the Ohio Supreme Court over and over and over again and at taxpayer expense.”
City officials believe the new laws are constitutional and will withstand any challenge.
Crystal Turner knows the pain and heartache of gun violence all too well. She lost her daughter and son to gun violence in April 2015. Turner said the new city ordinances are a step in the right direction.
“The rate in which we are losing our children … we slow down the violence that is happening in our community, and we have to start somewhere,” Turner said. “So it may not be the big start or the everything that everybody wants to happen, but it is a start. All we can do at this point is continue to make those changes and continue to address the issues that are in our community that are facing us.”
Council President Shanon Hardin said the package of new laws is about trying to keep the community safe. “A lot of the people that were victims of violent crime, a lot of the people that had to bear the weight of these gun-related deaths look like me and came from communities like myself,” Hardin said. “So we couldn’t just continue to talk. We had to do what we can to keep neighborhoods safe.”
Phil Mulivor wouldn’t disclose his organization’s plan but a court challenge of the new city ordinances seems likely. “We’re concerned about the rule of law as everybody should be. If you want to change a law, if you want to change state law, change it at the state level which is the only way in Ohio that we’re allowed to proceed with these types of things.”