Jackson Administration proposes legislative agenda to address gun violence in Cleveland

Today at a City Hall press conference, Mayor Jackson outlined a broad and bold legislative agenda that, if enacted by Cleveland City Council, will help Cleveland Police crackdown on gun-related violence in the city, particularly violent crimes committed by convicted felons.

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Mayor Jackson address members of the media.

“Despite the hard work of the Cleveland Division of Police and their law enforcement partners, we continue to face situations where convicted felons are using guns to murder, rob and assault people in our community,” said Jackson. “I want Cleveland Police and our city prosecutors to have as many ways to address this problem as they can and this legislative agenda will help get us there.”

Mayor Jackson has directed the City’s Law Department to craft a legislative agenda that includes new laws, incorporates existing state code gun regulations into Cleveland’s municipal code and reenacts the city’s gun regulations that are permitted under state law. It is a comprehensive overhaul of the city’s gun regulations and will be presented to Cleveland City Council in July 2014.

“Dealing with the issue of gun violence is a top priority for Cleveland City Council,” said Councilman Matt Zone, Chair of the Public Safety Committee. “I look forward to holding a number of Safety Committee hearings to have a thoughtful conversation around gun laws and the steps we can take as a city to curb gun violence and save lives within our neighborhoods.”

Cleveland Police have taken more than 9,000 firearms off the streets of Cleveland since 2006 through a variety of gun suppression initiatives and day-to-day police work. VGRIP, a multi-agency partnership, targets gun violence in particular.  So far this year, VGRIP alone has taken more than 90 guns off the streets of Cleveland.

Councilman Michael Zone the City Council Public Safety Committee Chair speaks on the need for action

Councilman Michael Zone, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, speaks on the need for action.

“This legislative agenda will give our police officers the clarity they need to enforce appropriate gun laws in the city and give us tools to crack down on the sale and trade of guns to convicted felons,” said Police Chief Calvin D. Williams.

New Cleveland legislative initiatives include the following:

  • A Gun Offender Registry.  Anyone convicted of a gun offense will be required to register with the police within 48 hours of sentence or release.  The registration will include identifying information, including name, addresses of residence, work, and school, drivers’ license or ID card, and description of offense. Within 20 days of the one year anniversary of the initial registration, the offender must personally appear before the police to verify and update the registration and be photographed.  If confined during the 20 day period, the offender must appear within 48 hours of release.  The offender must stay on the registry for four years after the initial registration.
  • Prohibiting Transferring a Firearm to a Known Felon.  No person shall negligently sell or transfer a firearm to a known felon.
  • Prohibiting the Improper Discharge of a Firearm at City Parks, Playgrounds or Recreation Centers. No person shall discharge a firearm upon the grounds of any park, playground, or recreation center owned by the City.
  • Improperly Providing Access to Firearms to a Minor. No person shall leave a weapon so as to allow access to the weapon by a minor.
  • Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms.  A firearm owner who discovers or should have discovered that a firearm in his possession is missing must report the loss or theft to law enforcement within 48 hours.
  • Reporting the Transfer of Firearms.  Except for transfers involving a licensed gun dealer, no person shall sell or transfer a firearm without reporting the sale or transfer to the police.
  • Limiting Firearm Purchases to One per Person every 90 days.  No person shall purchase or otherwise acquire more than one firearm within a 90-day period.  No person shall sell or otherwise transfer a firearm to any person who has purchased or acquired another firearm within the preceding 90-day period.
Chief of Police Calvin D. Williams

Chief of Police Calvin D. Williams

The legislation will incorporate into Cleveland’s Code a comprehensive set of misdemeanor offenses that mirror State Code regulations including the following:

  • Carrying Concealed Weapons (RC 2923.12) No person who is issued a concealed carry license shall do any of the prohibited acts under this Code section.
  • Using Weapons While Intoxicated (RC 2923.15) Prohibits use of a firearm or dangerous ordnance while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Improperly Handling a Firearm in a Motor Vehicle  (RC 2923.16) No person shall transport or have a firearm in a motor vehicle unless the person may lawfully possess the firearm, the firearm is unloaded and is carried in a closed package, a compartment, or secured in a gun rack.
  • Unlawful Transactions in Weapons (RC 2923.20) Prohibits the manufacture and sale of brass knuckles, switchblade knife or similar weapons.
  • Underage Purchase of Handgun (RC 2923.211) Prohibits the purchase of a handgun by a person under 21, but over 18 unless the person is a law enforcement officer or a member of the armed services.
  • Places Where Handguns are Prohibited with a Concealed Carry License (2923.126) Prohibits carrying a concealed weapon in the places detailed in the state code.

Finally, the legislation will reenact City laws that are permitted under State law, including the following:

  • Prohibited Weapons on School Property; Duty to Notify Police (CO 627.082) Requires a school official to notify police of a prohibited weapon found on school property.
  • Failure to Secure Dangerous Ordnance (CO 627.05) Prohibits a person from possessing a dangerous ordnance without taking proper precautions to secure it against theft and insure the safety of persons and property.  A violation is a second degree misdemeanor.
  • Voluntary Disposition of Handguns (CO 627.12) Allows for the voluntary surrender of firearms and dangerous ordnance.
  • Discharging Firearms (CO 627.20) Generally prohibits discharge of a firearm.
  • Facsimile Firearms (CO 627.23) Prohibits the sale of any replica or facsimile firearm.