HB 228 strengthened Ohio’s preemption law to prevent erosion of Second Amendment rights in Ohio. The right to own, possess, and carry weapons has been under attack by several cities in Ohio. The City of Columbus is attempting to block the new law with a lawsuit.
The City of Columbus claims that it has home rule authority to pass ordinances pertaining to the ability to own or possess firearms and firearm accessories. The lawsuit can be read at this llink. From wcbe.org:
The city of Columbus today filed a lawsuit against the state of Ohio to halt legislation enacted last year because it limits the ability municipalities have to enact local gun ordinances.
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein says House Bill 228 eviscerates the basic principle of home rule.
There is a significant barrier for the lawsuit to overcome. The Ohio Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled the Ohio legislature has the authority to pass general laws that protect the exercise of Second Amendment rights, which are also protected by the Ohio Constitution.
Ohio: The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security; but standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be kept up; and the military shall be in strict subordination to the civil power. Art. I, § 4 (enacted 1851).
Just two years ago, in 2017, the Ohio Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Cleveland, Ohio, on the subject. From cleveland.com:
CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Ohio Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to take up Cleveland’s appeal of a decision that struck down a gun offender registry and several gun ordinances approved in 2015.
The decision lets stand an April 2017 ruling by the Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals. That ruling held as invalid a package of ordinances proposed by Mayor Frank Jackson and passed by City Council in the wake of a flurry of gun violence in 2014 and 2015.
The Supreme Court of Ohio made its opinion clear in a ruling on the subject in 2010.
Today this court must decide whether R.C. 9.68, a statute enacted by the General Assembly in 2006 that provides that only federal or state regulations can limit an Ohioan’s individual right to bear arms, is a general law. We hold that R.C. 9.68 is a general law that displaces municipal firearm ordinances and does not unconstitutionally infringe on municipal home rule authority.
Those rulings seem clear. Home rule authority in Ohio does not extend to passing ordinances that interfere with general laws passed by the state legislature. In particular, home rule does not grant authority to cities to infringe on the right to bear arms protected by the Ohio Constitution.
In a republic where the powers of government are limited, cities do not have the power to pass any and all ordinance the government may wish. Some powers are forbidden to them.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.