Arrest of Mayor Frank Jackson's grandson exposes impotence of Cleveland gun control laws
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported recently that the grandson of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has been indicted on two felony weapons-related charges.
What Plain Dealer journalist Cory Shaffer didn't bother to note is that Major Jackson is a long-time gun control extremist. The article also failed to mention that Jackson's grandson is not being charged with violating any of his grandfather's impotent local gun control laws.
From the article:
Frank Q. Jackson Jr., 20, was charged in an indictment handed up Friday with carrying a concealed weapon and improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, both fourth-degree felonies.
Jackson was the passenger of a Ford pick-up truck that was blocking traffic on Green Court near East 40th Street about 4:30 p.m. June 9, according to court records. The 17-year-old driver did not have a valid license, court records say.
Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority officers pulled up behind the truck and Jackson jumped, according to court records. Officers reported finding a .40-caliber bullet and loose marijuana on the floor behind where Jackson was sitting, court records say.
Jackson told the officers he had a clip in his pocket, records say, and officers found a .40-caliber Glock in the center console of the car, according to court records.
In a statement released following the indictment, Mayor Jackson said "Frank is my grandson and as any parent or grandparent who has raised children in a challenging environment knows, there is a constant worry about their wellbeing."
Just a few months ago, the Ohio Eighth District Court of Appeals found that all but two laws contained in the latest package of Mayor Jackson's gun control laws were unconstitutional. What's more, the only reason those two measures were allowed to stand by the courts was because they mirror existing laws established by the legislature. In other words, the only two provisions of Jackson's most recent gun control laws which remain are two that address things which are already illegal under state law.
Buckeye Firearms Association has fought Jackson's efforts for many years. We have repeatedly exposed the fact that the local gun control policies he supports are rarely used to prosecute crimes because, as municipal statutes, they can only be enforced as misdemeanors, whereas when crimes are committed involving firearms, state laws have been violated that carry felony penalties are involved. Given the choice, prosecutors will naturally chose to pursue charges on the higher penalty.
When Mayor Jackson took office in January of 2006, the City of Cleveland was enforcing a so-called "assault" weapons ban. With passage of HB 347 late that same year, the ban was rendered unenforceable. Jackson immediately set about to complain that he could no longer prosecute people for crimes committed with these guns, and that the loss of that tool had directly resulted in Cleveland’s increasing violent crime problem. The mayor even staged press conferences behind a table of scary-looking guns, implying that they had been confiscated through the now-defunct ban.
We challenged the media to investigate whether or not Jackson's claims were true. Getting the answer would be easy for a responsible journalist to do - if the city was having troubles prosecuting offenses in the absence of the ban, that would show through a significant drop in convictions related to those offenses. No one at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, or any other news organization, for that matter, took it upon themselves to investigate. So we did.
Public records requests by Buckeye Firearms Association revealed that in all of 2006, Jackson's first year in office, there was not one single person charged with a violation of Cleveland’s assault weapons ban. That’s right, not even one.
In 2007 (before HB 347 took effect), there was one person prosecuted for a violation of Cleveland’s bans. The case never made it to trial because the Grand Jury returned a “no bill”, meaning they didn’t even find the enough evidence of a crime for the case to move forward to a trial.
In the mayor’s entire tenure, not only had the City of Cleveland not convicted a single person under their so-called assault weapons ban; they never even took one case to trial!
Even going back to 2005, we found only two people charged with violating Cleveland’s ban. They either pled, or were found guilty. Obviously, the (not so) big drop in convictions for this now-defunct law had nothing to do with Cleveland’s crime problem. That's because the City of Cleveland has rarely used its gun control laws against criminals before, and they won't now. (In fact, our investigation revealed far more about an administration that is soft on gun crime than about inanimate objects causing their woes. Not only did the city fail to enforce their ordinances, but they let bad guys go.)
When a mayor and city council stand up and publicly announce that they are plotting to openly refuse to follow the law, they are behaving exactly like the criminals they claim to be seeking to bring to justice.
When a mayor and city council refuse to do things that are proven to reduce crime, and instead commit their city to spending time, money, and resources on things that can't possibly reduce crime and/or are illegal, it is gross negligence.
It's no surprise that crime is up in a "challenging environment" like Cleveland. What else would anyone expect when the city "leaders" are part of the problem instead of part of the solution?
As for the mayor's grandson, should he be concerned he'll get jail time? Not likely. According to an investigation by Cleveland's Fox affiliate in 2015, in the cases they checked that involved similar charges, about half of those facing charges got probation. Only about a third got locked up, and some only got time served for a few days spent in jail while under investigation.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and a NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.