Gun Advocates Sue Cincinnati and Columbus

CINCINNATI (CN) — Ohio gun advocates sued Cincinnati and Columbus this week, claiming city laws banning “trigger activators” — bump stocks — on guns are unconstitutional.

Two lawsuits in state courts filed on the first day of summer claim that city ordinances outlawing specific parts and components of guns are unconstitutional.

In the Cincinnati case, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, Ohioans for Concealed Carry and Jordan Telting sued the city in Hamilton County Court.

In Columbus, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, Ohioans for Concealed Carry and Gary Witt challenged an emergency ordinance banning trigger activators within city limits. The city law would make it illegal to possess, use or sell trigger activators.

Bump stocks essentially convert a gun into a semi-automatic weapon.

On May 14 the Ohio gun advocates told Cincinnati City Solicitor Paula Boggs Muething that the ordinance is unconstitutional; a violation of Ohio’s firearm preemption statute; and that the city cannot enforce it.

The gun lovers say Muething has not taken any action to oppose the new ordinance.

“Ohioans for Concealed Carry and Buckeye Firearms Foundation have sued Columbus over a violation of state law,” said David Kessler, with Haynes, Kessler, Myers and Postalakis, representing the plaintiffs in both lawsuits.

“The Columbus ordinance banning ‘trigger activators’ is unconstitutional under Ohio law because Ohio has passed a firearm preemption statute.”

The city said: “The purpose of the law is to ensure firearm laws are uniform throughout the state. Under Ohio’s preemption law, cities may not restrict the possession of any firearm, part of a firearm, their components or their ammunition. Technically, this is a restriction of the home rule powers of cities which, in Ohio, is enshrined in the state constitution. That’s why we describe the ordinances as ‘unconstitutional.’”

Violation of the cities’ laws — possessing a bump stock, or trigger activator — could be prosecuted as a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail with a mandatory minimum of 180 days and a fine of $1,500.

The gun advocates say that Muething and Klein have a duty to apply for an injunction to restrain the misapplication city money, and are abusing their powers.

They seek an injunction enjoining the cities from enforcing the laws, and from spending city money to implement them.

Klein did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.

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