Cleveland City Council passes rewrite of city gun laws

Cleveland City Council passes rewrite of city gun laws
Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone speaks about gun legislation (Source: WOIO)
Ward 15 Councilman Matt Zone speaks about gun legislation (Source: WOIO)

The Cleveland City Council has passed a complete rewrite of the city's gun laws and created a new gun offender registry to help prevent gun violence.

"Today's vote is the culmination of a long process involving collaboration between my administration and City Council," said Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson. "With this legislation, it is a step in the right direction for the City of Cleveland."

"Law enforcement members now have another tool to attack the problem of gun violence and make Cleveland a safer place," said Jackson.

The Jackson Administration has worked together on the proposed legislation with City Council President Kevin Kelley and Chairman of the Public Safety Committee Matt Zone at great length.

"Gun violence has taken far too many lives in our community," said City Council President Kevin Kelley. "The City of Cleveland has acted aggressively to address this issue."

"The Public Safety Committee welcomes this legislation and the conversations that it will prompt to help address this high priority issue in our city," said Councilman Matt Zone, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee.

The legislation repeals the City of Cleveland's existing codified ordinances in Chapter 627 Weapons and Explosives and replace it with new laws addressing specific violence prevention needs in the City of Cleveland and laws that would mirror existing state gun laws, with appropriate municipal level offenses and penalties.

In addition, the current Chapter 628 (assault weapons ban) would be repealed and replaced with legislation to create a gun offender registry. 

"The gun offender registry is a new tool to help law enforcement officers understand where individuals convicted of a gun offense are living in the City of Cleveland," said Chief of Police Calvin D. Williams. "Add this information to our crime data analysis and partnerships like VGRIP (Violence Gun Reduction and Interdiction Program) and we will have a greater ability to address gun violence."

Summary of Proposed New Gun Ordinances 


627.01 Definitions: Definitions revised to mirror state law.

627.02 Carrying Concealed Weapons 

Like state law, this section prohibits carrying a concealed deadly weapon or handgun and makes it an offense for persons with a concealed handgun license to (1) fail to inform a law enforcement officer that the person is carrying a concealed handgun; (2) fail to keep the persons hands in plain sight when stopped by a law enforcement officer; or (3) fail to comply with any lawful order of the law enforcement officer.

627.04 Using Weapons While Intoxicated

Like State law, this section prohibits the carrying or use of a firearm while under the influence.

627.05 Improperly Handling Firearms in a Motor Vehicle

Like state law, this section prohibits transport of a firearm in a motor vehicle unless certain requirements have been met and complied with.

627.06 Failure to Secure Dangerous Ordnance 

Like state law, this section requires person in possession of dangerous ordnance to secure it against theft and to insure the safety of persons and property.

627.07 Improperly Providing Access to Firearms to a Minor 

This section makes it an offense to leave a firearm in a manner that allows access to the firearm by a person under 18 years of age.

627.08 Underage Purchase of Handgun 

This section mirrors misdemeanor offenses in state law and prohibits persons under 21 from purchasing a handgun.

627.09 Improperly Discharging a Firearm on or near Prohibited Premises

Similar to state law, this section prohibits the discharge of a firearm (1) at or within 100 yards of a cemetery; (2) on a lawn, park, pleasure ground, orchard, or other ground appurtenant to a school, church, or inhabited dwelling, the property of another, or a charitable institution; (3) over a public road or highway; or (4) within five hundred feet of the grounds of any park, playground, or recreation center owned by the City.

627.10 Prohibited Weapons on School Property; Duty to Notify Police

This section requires any school official to notify the Police upon discovery of a prohibited weapon on school grounds.

627.11 Possessing Certain Weapons at or About Public Places 

Like state law, this section prohibits any person from carrying or possessing a BB gun, pellet gun, knife, brass knuckles, cestus, billy, karate stick, blackjack, or sword in a public place.

627.12 Seizure and Confiscation of Deadly Weapons 

This section authorizes police to seize a deadly weapon in any situation where a person has been drinking, disturbing the peace, threatening harm and the officer has reasonable cause to believe the deadly weapon may be used.

627.13 Reporting Transfers of Firearms

This section prohibits the sale or transfer of a firearm without reporting the sale or transfer to the Division of Police.

627.14 Defacing Identification Marks of Firearms; Possessing Defaced Firearm 

Like state law, this section prohibits (1) alteration of the name of the manufacturer, the serial number or other mark of identification on a firearm; or (2) possession of an altered firearm.

627.15 Unlawful Transactions in Weapons 

This section prohibits the manufacture, sell, or possession for sale to any person other than a law enforcement officer weapons such as brass knuckles, knives and advanced martial arts weapons.

627.16 Prohibition Against Transferring Firearms or Dangerous Ordnance to a Felon or Intoxicated Person 

This section prohibits any person from negligently selling or furnishing a firearm to any person prohibited from having such weapons

627.17 Voluntary Surrender of Firearms and Dangerous Ordnance 

This section allows any person with an illegal handgun to dispose of it by turning it in to a district police station without making any written statement and allows a person who possesses a firearm while under a weapons disability to avoid prosecution by reporting the possession to any law enforcement authority and surrendering the firearm.

627.18 Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms 

Effective November 1, 2015, this section requires persons that reside in the City to report to police the theft or loss of a firearm within 48 hours of the time he/she know or should have known of the theft or loss.

627.19 Facsimile Firearms 

This section (1) prohibits the display, market for sale, or sale of a facsimile firearm; (2) prohibits brandishing a facsimile firearm with intent to frighten a person; and, (3) prohibits brandishing a facsimile firearm in the presence of a law enforcement officer, fire fighter or EMT.

627.20 Conveyance or Possession of an Object Indistinguishable from a Firearm in a School Safety Zone 

Like state law, this section prohibits the possession or brandishing of an object indistinguishable from a firearm in a school safety zone.


627.21 Sale of Long-Bladed Pocket Knives 

627.22 Sale or Possession of Sling Shots and Pea Shooters 

627.23 Unlawful Display of Weapons 

627.24 Possession or Use of Stench Bombs 

627.25 Tear Gas Guns 

627.26 Containers or Combustibles 

627.27 Jump Traps 


Effective November 1, 2015, this new chapter requires a gun offender that resides in the City, after the effective date of this section, to register with the Safety Director within 5 days of either release, or the imposition of a sentence, or within 5 days of becoming a resident if the offender did not live in the City at the time registration would have been required. Offender must register annually for a period of four years.

A Statement from Mayor Frank G. Jackson Regarding Recent Lawsuit Filed over the City's Gun Violence Ordinance:

"The City's new laws mirror current state misdemeanor firearm's offenses and address concerns with the responsible use of firearms in an effort to reduce gun violence, protect the City's youth, and make Cleveland's neighborhoods safer. These new laws do not limit the rights of our citizens to own firearms. This is an appropriate step to ensure that second amendment rights are protected while ensuring that weapons are not misused."

Copyright 2015 WOIO. All rights reserved.