The controversial and mandatory gun offender registry adopted in Cleveland earlier this year has not signed up a single person in its first full month of operation.
Under the registry scheme, individuals convicted of a gun crime who live in Cleveland have five days to register, as would offenders who move there from outside its borders. Failure to do so is a misdemeanor that would result in a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.
Along with the offender’s home address, the registry includes fingerprints, name and aliases used, date of birth, sex, home or mobile phone number regularly used, photo identification card, description of the gun offense, employer information and the name of any educational institutions the offender attends, according to the 30-page ordinance.
However, since going active on Nov. 1, no one has come forward to add their name to the list and publicly searchable database. Officials feel it is likely due to ignorance of the new law.
“We think perhaps not everybody knows about the requirement to register so we want to get that out there,” Tim Hennessy, Cleveland’s assistant director of public safety, told local media.
The city ordinance came as part of a package of gun control legislation backed by Mayor Frank Jackson, a Democrat who is a vocal member of Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns organization. Besides the registry, Jackson sought to ration gun sales, increase safety requirements, and mandate the reporting of personal transfers and lost guns to the police.
Gun rights advocates protested the changes and threatened to sue the City Council if the legislation is passed, citing a state supreme court decision barring municipalities from enacting gun laws stricter than that of the state’s. Once passed, the groups kept their promise and brought the city to court over the ordinance.