Cincinnati Council Is Asking State Lawmakers To Ban Assault Weapons

Feb 22, 2018

Cincinnati City Council is asking Ohio legislators to implement a statewide ban on the sale and purchase of assault weapons and semiautomatic firearms with large ammunition magazines.

Council approved the resolution Thursday by a 6-2 vote. Those supporting the measure: Greg Landsman, David Mann, Chris Seelbach, P.G. Sittenfeld, Christopher Smitherman and Wendell Young. Voting no were council members Amy Murray and Jeff Pastor.

The resolution also says if Ohio lawmakers won't enact such a ban, they should allow the city to do so within city limits.

Cincinnati prohibited possessing or selling semiautomatic firearms in 1989. But the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in 2010 a section of the state's revised code created "a conflict and supersedes a municipality's ability to impose home rule in order to legislate against assaults weapons."

Council Member David Mann asked that the new resolution be drafted. 

"I hope there is support for this initiative," Mann said. "I would like to not ever again as an elected official have to deal with this issue."

Mann was also on council when the 1989 ordinance passed and was a member of Congress in 1994 when a national ban on assault weapons was enacted. That law expired in 2004.

Council Member Wendell Young carried a weapon similar to the AR-15 during his time in the military.

"I cannot fathom why citizens need a weapon like that," Young said. "It is absolutely heart-wrenching to watch those children talk about the experiences they had while they were being hunted like animals in the hallways of their school by a deranged individual with a weapon like that."

Council Member Jeff Pastor says the measure should have been sent to the Law and Public Safety Committee for more debate.

"I am a proud, legal gun owner and I have a semiautomatic weapon and it happens to be a pistol," Pastor said. "It has a magazine that can carry 18 rounds. So, when I read this resolution, it would literally forbid me from carrying my weapon that I'm allowed to carry."

City Council also referred a motion to committee Thursday that would direct administrators to prepare an ordinance to ban possessing and using bump stocks within the city. Those can be used to make a semiautomatic weapons operate like an automatic weapon.