Thursday, April 12, 2007

Columbus Seeks To Dodge Suit On Semi-Auto Ban reports that the City of Columbus Ohio has stopped enforcing its Assault Weapon Ban based on a new state law that went into effect in March.

"Columbus police suspended enforcement of the city’s assault-weapons ban on Mar. 14 as a new Ohio law took effect, wiping out many locally enacted gun controls across Ohio.

The state law, approved by the legislature in December over the veto of then-Gov. Bob Taft, says only state and federal lawmakers can enact rules governing the possession, sale and storage of guns in Ohio. According to The Columbus Dispatch, it wiped about 80 local laws off the books in Columbus, Dublin and more than a dozen other cities across the state.

The city of Cleveland immediately sued the state in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, contending that the pre-emption law violated the state’s constitutional provision for “home rule” which allows municipalities to adopt and enforce their own ordinances. Cleveland has enacted several, especially when it comes to firearms. The Ohio attorney general will be in charge of arguing against the city in support of the new firearms preemption statute.

Columbus considered its own suit or the possibility of joining Cleveland’s county court lawsuit, then opted for a free ride."

This is a growing trend in the nation. If you think your local law should not be voided by the state, just cite "home rule" as your authority and sue.

Something similar is going on in Texas, where local law enforcement was told to keep arresting drivers found with loaded handguns even if a new state law allows it.

Now the politicians in Texas, Cleveland and Columbus may actually believe their municipal rights were usurped. However, municipalities seeking to challenge a state law need to suspend their enforcement of the ordinance in question otherwise citizens are left in the lurch and at the whim of local officials.

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