Cincinnati wants to require residents to lock up their guns and is suing the state to make it happen

By: - June 30, 2023 4:55 am

Photo by Aristide Economopoulos for New Jersey Monitor/States Newsroom.

As Cincinnati’s lawsuit against Ohio to allow for them to create their own gun safety regulations is being heard in a state court, Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation to make guns safer.

Cincinnati has a plan for reducing gun violence.

“A trigger lock can be the difference between life and death for a child or a suicidal teenager,” said Kristine Woodworth with Mom’s Demand Action.

After passing a safe storage ordinance to require people to lock up their guns, the state shut it down. Woodworth sat in court Wednesday as she heard her city fight back.

“There’s very little that they can do at the city level to improve conditions and to stop our children from being killed and killing others with guns,” the mom said.

Rob Sexton with Buckeye Firearms Association said that’s the way the law is supposed to work.

“State law is crystal clear that local governments cannot enact gun restrictions that exceed those that are already in state law,” he said.

Ohio has a preemption law that prevents municipalities from creating their own gun regulations, which Cincinnati is now suing over. The city has previously dealt with legal challenges after it passed an ordinance in 2018 banning bump stocks. Columbus has also been fighting the state on the same issues.

Gun laws are uniform for a reason, Sexton argued.

“How could any law-abiding gun owner even know how to drive from their home to their work or to go visit friends if every time they cross a subdivision line between a county or a city that they would not even know where or how to store their own firearms?” he said.

State Rep. Anita Somani (D-Dublin) heard that argument and proposed a bill that would keep laws uniform. House Bill 217 would require gun trigger locks to be attached and provided with firearms sales. This would apply to all federally licensed firearms dealers.

“By introducing simple legislation, hopefully we can get to a point where we have more safe access to guns,” the lawmaker, who is a doctor, said. “This is a public health crisis in the same vein as cigarettes and alcohol and driving.”

Democrats also introduced another bill, H.B. 218, which would restore local authority to generally regulate firearm conduct.

Requiring safety provisions puts a burden on the gun owners and the gun sellers, infringing on constitutional rights to carry, Sexton said.

“I don’t see how that would infringe on anybody’s Second Amendment right,” Woodworth said. “Even if we require people to store their guns securely, we are not keeping them from owning or possessing a gun.”

Somani’s bill faces an uphill battle. Any type of gun safety bill has been ignored for years by the GOP-dominated legislature. But she says it’s still worth it to try.


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This article was originally published on and is published in the Ohio Capital Journal under a content-sharing agreement. Unlike other OCJ articles, it is not available for free republication by other news outlets as it is owned by WEWS in Cleveland.



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Morgan Trau
Morgan Trau

Morgan Trau is a political reporter and multimedia journalist based out of the WEWS Columbus Bureau. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Trau has previously worked as an investigative, political and fact-checking reporter in Grand Rapids, Mich. at WZZM-TV; a reporter and MMJ in Spokane, Wash. at KREM-TV and has interned at 60 Minutes and worked for CBS Interactive and PBS NewsHour.