Appellate Court Overturns Cleveland Gun-Offender Registry

photo courtesy courtnewsohio.gov

Ohio’s Eighth District Court of Appeals has found that the city of Cleveland’s gun-offender registry is invalid as it conflicts with state law. The City of Cleveland established the registry in 2015 under Codified Ordinance 931-14 Chapter 628. It required any Cleveland resident convicted of a gun offense to submit a gun-offender registration form to the Division of Police within five days of conviction.

A gun offense was defined as a violation of an Ohio Revised Code section or equivalent City of Cleveland Codified Ordinance section involving a firearm. However, the registry did not apply to any person who could demonstrate that the gun offense conviction was set aside, reversed, or the person was adjudicated as a juvenile delinquent for an offense that would not constitute a gun offense committed by an adult.

The registry, which took effect late last year, was among several firearms regulations pushed through by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and members of the city council and overturned by the three-judge panel.

There has been back-and-forth litigation over the local laws, and in this latest ruling, the court found that state law superseded those of local municipalities’ attempts to regulate firearm ownership.

Gun-rights group Ohioans for Concealed Carry challenged the laws after they were passed in 2015, arguing that under state law, cities and villages cannot impose firearms regulations stricter than those at the state level.

The three-judge panel agreed.

“The city may not enact ordinances that conflict with Ohio’s firearm ownership and possession laws, which are intended to prove uniformity throughout the state,” Judge Sean Gallagher wrote in his opinion. “If individuals on either side of the divide are unhappy with the law as written, the remedy lies with the Ohio legislature.”

Following the ruling, Jackson said he will appeal. He also plans to introduce another registry and similar laws by rewriting the registry requirement to avoid conflict with state laws. This would entail making what Jackson has described as “minor changes to the definitions” of “automatic weapons” and “dangerous ordinance.” — by Peter Suciu, contributor, Texas & U.S. Law Shield blog