Avoiding lawsuits will be a goal if the Delaware County fair board grants the city of Delaware's request to require background checks on gun sales at fairgrounds flea markets.

Delaware City Council on April 9 voted to encourage the Delaware County Agricultural Society to take that step.

The fair board discussed the request April 17 and voted to send the question to its executive committee. At the time, board President Don Howard said the board wanted to give the question methodical and rational consideration, without making a "knee-jerk" reaction.

Howard on May 15 told the fair board the committee continues to study the issue.

During a break in the meeting, he said the committee is talking to the agricultural society's legal counsel and reviewing gun-violence data received from the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

"We've talked with the attorneys. We're trying to see what we can do," he said. "What we can enforce becomes a big issue."

Columbus City Council on May 14 approved several gun issues, including a ban on bump stocks, devices that can be attached to a semiautomatic weapon to give it the abilities of a fully automatic one.

Ohioans for Concealed Carry is considering legal action against Columbus, Howard said.

"It's about gun control," he said of the Columbus action. "It's the bump stocks. A lot of it makes sense. Some of it is real borderline infringing."

The fair board committee is looking at law-enforcement data on "what makes up the shootings, what's the background on the shootings, where did the weapons come from?" he said.

That information, supplied to the board by the county sheriff's office, includes FBI statistics on shootings between 2000-15, and a U.S. Secret Service report titled, "Mass Attacks in Public Spaces -- 2017."

"One of the things we're seeing there is in the vast majority of the shootings, a high percentage, I don't remember the exact amount, the guns come from the family. So it's not like they're going out purchasing these," Howard said.

He said he could not predict when the committee will complete its study, but added, "We will come back with a recommendation. Absolutely."

City Council approved the request after Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle told council she was contacted by Delaware Hayes High School students, who asked her what she could do as a leader to stop school shootings.

City Attorney Darren Shulman told council Ohio Revised Code prohibits municipalities from passing firearms restrictions. Its provisions have been upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court.

City leaders also wondered if background checks at the fairgrounds would essentially stop gun sales there.

Police Chief Bruce Pijanowski told council its resolution would "essentially ask the fair board to say no private (gun) sales at organized events."

He said licensed firearms dealers are required to perform gun-sale background checks. They conduct them electronically through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Private individuals who sell limited numbers of guns are exempt from the requirement and cannot access the system.

If they ask police to run a background check, it might take a week to complete, he said.

In April, four residents asked the fair board to reject council's request.

In Powell, council member Brendan Newcomb on April 2 made a motion that Powell join other Ohio cities in calling for a state ban on "semiautomatic assault-style weapons."

Other council members declined to second his motion.

Vice Mayor Tom Counts said the city historically has not taken positions on outside issues, such as Olentangy Local School District ballot-issue campaigns.

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