Cleveland Police Chief weighs in on local vs. state gun laws

12:26 AM, Jan 18, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- The City of Cleveland has a half dozen gun ordinances that are tougher than the state of Ohio laws, yet cannot be enforced.

In 2010, a Supreme Court ruling declared that Cleveland's home rule on gun laws should not trump the general laws for the state of Ohio.

Those ordinances include: Possession of Firearms by Minors, Possessing Deadly Weapons on Public Property, Possession of Certain Weapons at or About Public Places, Access to Firearms, Unlawful Conduct and Handgun registration.

Proponents of the local ordinances say they better address the current climate of gun violence in this urban city than laws that cover rural areas would.

"The cities, urban areas, know what they need as far as to maintain safety in the communities. For the state to say 'you can't do that,' it's the not the best way to do business in my opinion," said Chief Michael McGrath.

Cleveland Division of Police Chief Michael McGrath says for example, mandatory handgun registration is a tool police can use to connect the dots in crimes.

"It used to help us track weapons somewhat as far as if a person has their weapon stolen," McGrath said.

While Possession of a Firearm by a Minor may not be enforceable, there are other state laws that police can fall back on.

Chief McGrath supports background checks and purchases made through federally licensed dealers.

While he says that most of Cleveland's handgun issues are not related to ordinances, he's glad to see the national discussion on stopping gun violence.

"If we don't do something, will that keep the guns out of the thugs' hands? No. So we have to start somewhere," said Chief McGrath.


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