Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson Hopes to Pass New Rules Tracking Gun Sales

The door of a Cleveland police cruiser. (file photo by Brian Bull)
The door of a Cleveland police cruiser. (file photo by Brian Bull)
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Cleveland Safety Director Michael McGrath says many people who commit gun crimes in the city have felony records and shouldn't have been able to get firearms in the first place. State law prohibits people with violent and drug felonies from having guns.

"We're targeting those felons…and the weapons availability to them," McGrath said in a phone interview. "How are they getting these weapons? How are these weapons getting into our neighborhoods?"

One proposal would require unlicensed gun sellers to report every firearm they sell or give away to police. Another measure would require people convicted of gun crimes to register with police. The city also wants to limit gun purchases to one per person every 90 days, among other measures.

The state legislature overruled municipal gun restrictions in 2007, saying there should be uniform firearm laws statewide. Cleveland sued the state of Ohio, but the state Supreme Court ruled against the city.

"It's kind of like been a gray area in that section of our ordinance book," McGrath said. "So at the recommendation of the mayor and the law department, we're going to wipe that out and build it new."

That includes bringing back some laws the mayor's office believes are allowed under state law, such as generally banning the discharge of a firearm, and requiring gun owners to protect their weapons from theft.

It's not clear yet how any of these rules might hold up to legal challenges, as the language is still being drafted. McGrath says the mayor's office will send legislation to city council in mid-July.

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