Ohio legislators look to clamp down harder on communities that try to pass local gun restrictions

Rep. David Leland, a Columbus Democrat, said the tighter preemption would violate the home rule provision of the Ohio Constitution. Leland said he understands the desire to not have a patchwork of local gun restrictions across the state, but communities should be able to enact policies they think will increase safety.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio lawmakers blocked cities and villages from enacting their own gun laws 12 years ago, but now they want to remove any wiggle room that could allow new restrictions and penalties in local communities.

Language inserted months ago into a “stand your ground” bill is getting new attention from city leaders who want to pass gun laws in the wake of shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Las Vegas.

House Bill 228 would shift the burden of proof from a defendant claiming self-defense to the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the individual did not use force in self-defense.

But a little-discussed provision of the bill would further limit local government’s ability to restrict gun ownership or possession and allow anyone or any group affected by the law to file a civil suit against the community. The local government would be on the hook for attorney fees, witness fees and other expenses if they lose in court or if they rescind the local law or restriction after the complaint is filed.

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