Gun Owners Oppose Cleveland's New Proposed Regulations
COLUMBUS, OH - The city of Cleveland has proposed 27 new weapons laws despite two Ohio Supreme Court rulings that prohibit cities from regulating firearms.
Collectively, the proposed ordinances would establish a gun-offender registry that is unlikely to deter crime or provide law enforcement with useful information.
Ohio gun owners are understandably concerned with Cleveland's proposals. For over a decade, organizations such as Buckeye Firearms Association have worked tirelessly to ensure that Ohio has one clear set of firearm laws that are uniform throughout the state.
"Cleveland has a long history of ignoring the rights of Ohio citizens when it comes to firearms," said Ken Hanson, legal counsel for Buckeye Firearms Association. "And they have a history of ignoring state law.
"By passing HB347, which became law in 2007, the Ohio General Assembly clearly sent a message to municipalities that they must abide by state law and cannot make up their own laws to regulate firearms."
Here is the relevant section from Ohio R.C 9.68:
The individual right to keep and bear arms, being a fundamental individual right that predates the United States Constitution and Ohio Constitution, and being a constitutionally protected right in every part of Ohio, the general assembly finds the need to provide uniform laws throughout the state regulating the ownership, possession, purchase, other acquisition, transport, storage, carrying, sale, or other transfer of firearms, their components, and their ammunition. Except as specifically provided by the United States Constitution, Ohio Constitution, state law, or federal law, a person, without further license, permission, restriction, delay, or process, may own, possess, purchase, sell, transfer, transport, store, or keep any firearm, part of a firearm, its components, and its ammunition.
Hanson has analyzed the proposed package of laws and presented testimony on Wednesday, September 24, 2014 to the Safety Committee of the Cleveland City council to outline which of these ordinances are likely or not likely to pass court review, which are duplicative of state law, and why establishing a gun offender registry is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
Buckeye Firearms Association is dedicated to defending and advancing the right of Ohio citizens to own and use firearms for all legal activities, including self-defense, hunting, competition, and recreation.
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On Wednesday, Ken Hanson, legislative director of the Buckeye Firearms Association and an attorney specializing in gun rights, provided council with a point-by-point analysis of the proposal. (See his analysis in the document viewer below.)
The purpose of the state statute was to replace local gun laws that varied widely between jurisdictions with uniform statewide regulations, Hanson said, adding that the proposed ordinances fly in the face of that goal.
Many of the ordinances that duplicate state law provide no new tools to law enforcement officials and serve no valid government purpose except to allow the city to collect fines for violating a misdemeanor version of the statute, Hanson said.
"The city cannot take a felony and label it a misdemeanor," he said. "This is beyond a radical reversal of court precedent."
The gun offender registry raises its own questions, too, including how much of the information will be made public and what happens when an offender has his or her record expunged or moves out of Cleveland, Hanson said.
If the city does create the registry, it should conduct a periodic review of data to determine whether it actually reduces gun violence, he said.