Delaware City Council wants the Delaware County Agricultural Society to require background checks on gun sales at flea markets at the fairgrounds.

A vote to encourage the board to do so followed about 30 minutes of discussion April 9.

When the county fair board considered the request April 17, it voted to send the question to its executive committee.

Fair board President Don Howard said board members wanted to give the question further consideration, without making a "knee-jerk" reaction. He said he expects the committee would report to the board May 21.

Mayor Carolyn Kay Riggle told City Council on April 9 she was contacted by Delaware Hayes High School students, who asked her what she could do as a leader to stop school shootings.

Two students, Jordyn Love and Haleigh Oliver, gave council their reactions to school shootings and asked members to approve the request to the fair board.

"We risk our lives every day when we walk into schools," Love said.

Oliver recounted an unannounced active-shooter drill when she attended Dempsey Middle School in 2015. She said classmates were crying and some were texting their parents, and she imagined her parents attending her funeral.

Most gun laws are not up to local governments.

City attorney Darren Schulman told council Ohio Revised Code Section 9.68 prohibits municipalities from passing their own laws restricting firearms. Its provisions have been upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Delaware police Chief Bruce Pijanowski told council that licensed firearms dealers are required to perform gun-sale background checks, which are conducted electronically through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Private individuals who sell limited numbers of firearms are not required to do background checks and cannot access NICS, he said.

If police are asked to complete a background check, it could take a week to complete, he said.

Pijanowski said the resolution would "essentially ask the fair board to say no private sales at organized events."

A few residents were not in favor of the resolution, with four telling the fair board it should reject the council's request.

Robert Owen called council's resolution an example of "trickery of liberal terminology."

Michael Newberg predicted any limit to fairground gun sales likely would provoke a court challenge, for which taxpayers would have to pay.

Others supported the resolution.

Hayes student Mallory Watts endorsed the resolution and cited lives lost to suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22,018 of the 44,193 suicides in the U.S. in 2015 were committed with a firearm.

Assistant City Manager Jackie Walker told the board the resolution could increase "the safety of our community" and background checks do not threaten Second Amendment rights.

Councilman Kyle Rohrer abstained on the resolution's vote. He had suggested first holding a public hearing.

Councilman George Hellinger voted against the resolution.

He had said the resolution should be a request to residents and merchants citywide and not be specific to the fairgrounds.

Delaware is not the only city in the county with discussions about firearms.

In Powell, councilman 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.

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