An Ohio judge has permanently barred the city of Columbus from enforcing its ban on “bump stock” devices, saying the city’s recently passed ordinance violates the state Constitution.
A bump stock is a “component” of a firearm, and so the city’s ban violates state law that generally allows the possession of guns and associated parts absent a conflicting state or federal restriction, Franklin County Judge David E. Cain said in a ruling announced Friday.
Judge Cain also said in the ruling that the city can enforce new penalties for domestic abusers caught with guns. He had issued a temporary injunction blocking the enforcement of both ordinances after gun-rights advocates sued last month.
Columbus had tried to argue that bump stocks, which are used to modify the rate of fire on semiautomatic weapons to mimic fully automatic ones like machine guns, are gun “accessories” that localities can regulate.
“A bump stock, regardless of who installs it, is a component of a rifle,” Judge Cain wrote. “Columbus‘ logic doesn’t work.”
Bump stocks gained notoriety after authorities said the gunman in last year’s Las Vegas shooting used them to spray gunfire onto concert-goers, in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
States and localities have since moved to ban them, and the Trump administration is trying to rewrite federal regulations to do so as well.
In the Columbus case, Judge Cain said the city tried to argue that bump stocks are gun “accessories,” not parts, because they can be installed by the end user — which he said could result in a situation where the legality of the devices hinges on who installs them.