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Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson Hopes to Pass New City Gun Laws

Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 9:43 AM

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Left to right, Police Chief Calvin Williams, Safety Director Michael McGrath and Mayor Frank Jackson. (file photo)

In an effort to curb gun violence, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson wants to overhaul the city's firearm laws. As ideastream's Nick Castele reports, the mayor has asked city council to review a list of new ordinances.

The proposed gun laws are a mix of new rules and those already in state law.

One new rule would limit people to buying only one gun in a 90-day period. Another would require people giving away guns or making unlicensed sales to notify police. And yet another would make it a city offense to sell or hand over a gun to a felon or intoxicated person.

“If you can prevent one incident, just one stinking incident, it’s all worth it as far as I’m concerned,” Michael McGrath, Cleveland’s public safety director, said in a phone interview.

McGrath said he hopes the new rules will slow the spread of firearms to criminals.

The city is proposing these laws despite a 2010 ruling by the Ohio Supreme Court that said state gun laws supercede local ones. McGrath said the city is still going forward with this legislation.

“It doesn’t mean you sit back in your chair and say, ‘Woe is me because the bad guys are going to get guns anyway, and we have this home rule law that negated a lot of our stuff,’” he said. “You want to be proactive, you want to try make a difference, and that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Even before the mayor unveiled specific legislation, gun-rights activists protested this weekend. City council is expected to give the proposals hearings next month.

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