Clevelanders Register Their Guns, But Don't Have To


Staff member
Hundreds of Cleveland residents voluntarily register their guns with the city, even though a state law banned Cleveland and other cities from forcing people to register their weapons.

Cleveland officials said they have always enforced state laws, even those that conflict with city ordinances, after the state passed a law last year that revised portions of the concealed-carry law and implemented one set of gun rules statewide, nullifying local firearms ordinances.

For example, the city no longer requires people to register their handguns with City Hall. But some people continue to do so, and the city willingly takes down their information, said Lt. Thomas Stacho, a police spokesman.

Cleveland filed a lawsuit against the state in March 2007, the day the statewide law took effect. City leaders argued that gun control is a "home rule" issue in which municipalities should be free to adopt rules that work best for their communities. Cleveland officials argued gun-control legislation needs to be treated differently in cities than in rural areas.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-3 last month that local governments cannot pass ordinances that conflict with the state gun law.

A Plain Dealer story around that time said Mayor Frank Jackson ordered police to enforce city ordinances despite the law relaxing parts of Ohio's concealed-carry law.

Stacho said he was misquoted and never made the statement about Jackson.

"I do not speak for Mayor Jackson, and no such order was given to the Division of Police by the mayor or anyone in a position to do so," Stacho said in an e-mail statement to the newspaper. The Plain Dealer stands by its story.

The police are enforcing state gun laws, said Andrea Taylor, spokeswoman for Jackson.

"We are also enforcing our local gun ordinances that are not in conflict with any state law," Taylor said.

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And while they're at it, are people going to start voluntarily surrendering their firearms doing a declared state of emergency? I suppose that as long as the state isn't requiring it, then I don't oppose it, but I know I wouldn't participate.

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