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City Council Looking at Tightening Cleveland’s Gun Laws

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 6:41 PM

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Councilman Kevin Conwell asks city attorney Richard Horvath about aspects of the legislation.

The Jackson administration’s fight for more restrictive gun laws advanced another step today when the City Council’s Public Safety Committee held a first hearing on proposed legislation. ideastream’s Joanna Richards reports.

Four years ago, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled against Cleveland in its challenge to state law that took gun control out of the hands of local government. Now, Mayor Frank Jackson and allies on the City Council aim to renew their challenge. They want to pass new local laws that would create a gun offender registry, limit the number of guns a person can buy to one every 90 days, and require that private gun sales and thefts be reported to police.

Supporters say those and other rules will encourage responsible gun ownership, help keep guns out of the hands of kids and criminals, and give law enforcement more tools to combat violence. The city’s police chief and public safety director spoke in favor of the legislation.

But others questioned whether the rules would hit their target.

“The bad people with guns aren’t registering nothing, okay? They’re not registering nothing. And the kids who have guns – they’re not registering,” said Councilman Michael Polensek. He was critical of many aspects of the legislation. He said as a responsible gun owner, he does support more regulation of private gun sales, but cautioned that the city’s efforts would just get overruled again by the state.

Other council members said more police and different policing techniques were better ways to combat violence than gun restrictions, and asked for more information on gun crime trends in the city.

The committee didn’t take comments from the public, but will at more hearings in the coming weeks.

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