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After mass shootings, gun policy low on priority list at Ohio Statehouse

Mark Ferenchik
WOSU Public Media

To close out June and kick off summer recess, state lawmakers took dozens of votes in a 12-hour marathon session Wednesday.

Most of Ohio’s big cities recorded at least one mass shooting during the month, but gun policy ranked low on the list of last week's priorities. Columbus, Akron, Cincinnati and Dayton all documented shootings where at least four victims were injured in June, according to the Gun Violence Archive, an online tracker. In total, they left four dead.

Between June 23 and 24, early morning shootings injured 10 people in the Short North neighborhood of Columbus and on the West Side of Dayton. Three weeks earlier, nearly 30 people in Akron were shot after midnight at a birthday party on June 2.

House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) said his party’s supermajority has no appetite to take on any policy that limits firearms.

“Gun control laws simply just don't work, in my opinion,” Stephens said during a media gaggle last Tuesday. “Allowing the police to enforce the laws that are on the books is really the most important thing in keeping our community safe.”

But numerous GOP-backed gun bills didn’t see the floor either—including House Bill 51, a measure that would shield Ohioans from federal gun control policies by encouraging local law enforcement to not enforce any the state sees in violation of the Second Amendment. HB 51 hasn't moved in six months.

Minority Leader Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) said she thinks her colleagues across the aisle are out of touch with their constituents on the issue.

“We will continue to see these mass shootings like what we saw here in Columbus, in the Short North,” Russo said during a media gaggle last Tuesday. “The General Assembly again has stood in the way of our local law enforcement and our local officials.”

The state's judicial branch and the city of Columbus have gone back and forth over the legality of local gun ordinances for some time.

In 2022, Columbus City Council tried to ban gun magazines holding 30 or more rounds of ammunition. And although cities like Columbus have “home rule” to locally legislate on certain issues, the state's highest court has ruled before that stricter gun ordinances are not among them.

Sarah Donaldson covers government, policy, politics and elections for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. Contact her at