Simultaneous lawsuits were filed on Thursday, June 21, 2018, against the cities of Columbus and Cincinnati over recently introduced ordinances banning the possession, use, or acquisition of so-called "rate-of-fire firearms enhancers," commonly referred to as bump stocks or trigger cranks.
Buckeye Firearms Foundation and Ohioans for Concealed Carry are named as plaintiffs in the cases, citing that these unconstitutional ordinances clearly violate Ohio law.
"Ohio Revised Code 9.68 preempts the home rule powers of municipalities to regulate firearms, their components, and ammo," said Dean Rieck, Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association.
"This is important because Ohio used to have a confusing patchwork of gun laws. Merely crossing a city border could turn an otherwise law-abiding citizen into a criminal. More than a decade ago, legislators wisely decided to correct this problem by creating a uniform system of state law and forbidding cities from passing any laws which conflict with those laws."
Leaders with Ohioans for Concealed Carry (OFCC) agree and point out that there is a bigger issue at stake than "bump stocks."
"This isn't just about bump stock devices," said Doug Deeken, a Director with OFCC, "This is about rule of law in Ohio.
"For more than a decade, Ohio cities have been prohibited from any attempt to pass conflicting gun laws. There have been previous lawsuits going all the way up to the Ohio Supreme Court to establish this fact. It's settled law."
Both Ohioans for Concealed Carry and Buckeye Firearms Foundation have won lawsuits against cities who have attempted to regulate firearms.
In 2010, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 opinion that Ohio's "preemption" law is valid. In a case brought by the City of Cleveland against the State of Ohio, the court held that R.C. 9.68 is valid in all respects, including, but not limited to, the mandatory attorney fee provision against any city that attempts to violate a citizen's right to self-defense.
Attorneys for Columbus and Cincinnati rejected demand letters to file for an injunction to prevent the cities from enforcing the ordinances.
"It's unfortunate that we must sue cities to force them to obey state law," said Rieck. "But we simply cannot stand by and allow activist city councils to break the law and violate the rights of Ohio's 4 million gun owners."