Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David M. Gormley has issued a ruling that prohibits the city of Columbus from enforcing ordinances that would ban certain firearm magazines and implement gun-storage restrictions. The ruling, which came on April 25, 2023, was made in response to a lawsuit brought by the Buckeye Institute in Delaware County. The plaintiffs had requested a preliminary injunction, which was granted by Judge Gormley. The ruling means that the city of Columbus cannot enforce its gun ordinances until the legal issue has been resolved.
According to the ruling, the city’s ban on large-capacity magazines is not theoretical, but has been enacted, is in effect now, and will be enforced on a date certain. The plaintiffs argued that the Columbus ordinance conflicts with Ohio Revise Code Section 9.68, a state statutory provision that “declares null and void” any ordinance or other regulation that imposes any firearms-related restrictions beyond those found in state or federal law. Judge Gormley agreed with the plaintiffs, stating that the Columbus ordinance violates state law and likely violates the Ohio Constitution.
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost issued a statement in response to the ruling, commending Judge Gormley’s finding in favor of the Buckeye Institute. He stated “I commend Judge Gormley’s finding in favor of the Buckeye Institute in Doe v. Columbus. The injunction rightfully puts the city’s heavy-handed ordinances on hold while the merits of this case continue to be argued. The judge’s determination that the ordinances violate state law and likely violate the Ohio Constitution is a welcome decision for all who want to prevent government overreach and protect their constitutional rights.”
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein responded to the ruling, saying, “The City is aware of this ruling and is considering all options in response. Safe storage and other laws work. They encourage responsible gun ownership and they save lives. In the past month alone, we’ve seen instances right here in Columbus where toddlers and kids have found guns laying around that were accidentally discharged causing injury. Just like the court victories we’ve had protecting these laws in Franklin and Fairfield Counties, the City will continue…”
Dean Rieck, Executive Director of Buckeye Firearms Association, said that while he believes the city of Columbus is likely to appeal the ruling, it should be welcome news to residents of Columbus. “It’s a step in the right direction to unravel the mess created by Mayor Ginther, City Attorney Zack Klein, and Columbus City Council when they passed laws they knew for a fact were illegal and unconstitutional in Ohio,” he said.
The ruling stays the Columbus law for residents who had been facing a deadline of July 1 to get rid of magazines capable of holding 30 or more rounds.