Judge grants preliminary injunction in lawsuit over Cincinnati gun regulations

CINCINNATI — A Hamilton County judge issued a preliminary injunction prohibiting the State of Ohio from stopping Cincinnati’s city-wide gun regulations from becoming a reality.

Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously in February to pass two gun laws addressing the safe storage and possession of firearms, but amendments to Ohio’s Revised Code have a preemption law that prevents local governments from regulating guns.

“Because we are unable to enforce common sense gun safety measures ... we are being held back from fighting our best fight against universal accessibility to guns,” Mayor Aftab Pureval said in a press conference after the injunction was issued.

Judge Jennifer L. Branch issued an injunction stopping the state from enforcing the amended Revised Code for violating the city’s “home rule” right.

Home rule gives Ohio municipalities “the authority to exercise all powers of local self-government and to adopt and enforce within their limits such local police, sanity and other similar regulations, as are not in conflict with general laws.”

“Nobody knows how to reduce gun violence in Cincinnati better than Cincinnati,” Police Chief Teresa Theetge said.

The ordinance the city passed requires the safe storage of guns, particularly around children. Any parents or guardians who do not properly store their guns and “create a substantial risk to the health or safety of the child” can be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor.

It also makes possessing a firearm illegal for someone convicted of domestic violence or subject to a court order restraining them from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner. Anyone who violates the law will face a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

Cincinnati first filed a lawsuit against the state in 2019, before the first amended Revised Code took effect. Since then, more amendments were added by the General Assembly. The City of Columbus has also sued the state.

This injunction will preserve the status quo pending a final decision by Branch.

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