CLEVELAND — The mayor’s proposal to combat the scourge of violence in the city by creating a registry for gun offenders, among other ideas, is redundant, unnecessary and possibly illegal, a pro-gun group said Wednesday.
Democratic Mayor Frank Jackson said at a news conference Tuesday that he wants to give police and prosecutors the weapons they need to stop convicted felons from using guns to commit more crimes. Cleveland is the seventh-worst city in the nation for gun violence.
Besides the registry for gun offenders, Jackson proposed prohibitions against transferring a firearm to a known felon, improperly discharging a firearm in a park or playground, allowing improper access of a firearm to a minor, requiring people to report lost or stolen firearms, requiring people to tell police when they transfer firearms and limiting firearms purchases to one every 90 days.
Spokeswoman Maureen Harper said a number of other cities, including New York, Baltimore and Chicago, have gun offender registries.
The Ohio Supreme Court in 2010 ruled against the city’s challenge to a 2006 state law that said only the state and federal governments have the authority to enact gun laws.
Buckeye Firearms spokesman Ken Hanson said a gun offender registry is not needed because the federal and state governments already have databases with the names of people who are not allowed to own firearms. He said the registries in those other cities have done nothing to decrease gun violence.
Hanson said there are already laws covering the prohibitions sought by the mayor. Requiring the reporting of firearm transfers to police and limiting the number of guns a person can buy is a violation of state law.
“I understand why they’re asking the questions,” Hanson said. “What I don’t understand is why the officials of one of the biggest cities in Ohio fundamentally misunderstand Ohio law.”
Jackson spokeswoman Maureen Harper said the city would not respond to Hanson. She said the mayor is proposing a complete overhaul of the city’s code.
Some of the rewritten laws nearly mirror the state’s, Harper said, but will be easier to prosecute criminally at the city level by changing the burden of proof from reckless to negligent.
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