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Published: Wednesday, 1/24/2001

Toledo bans some gun resales

BY LISA A. ABRAHAM
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo city council adopted a law yesterday aimed at eliminating the resale or trade of certain semiautomatic weapons in the city.

After more than two years of debate, the measure passed council by a 9-3 vote after some last-minute amendments.

Council members Rob Ludeman, Betty Shultz, and Bob McCloskey voted against the ordinance.

The law, often referred to as the assault weapon ban, makes it illegal for anyone to knowingly “sell, deliver, rent, lease, display for sale, transfer ownership, or possess certain semiautomatic firearms” in Toledo.

It also forbids possession of ammunition magazines loaded with more than 10 rounds.

The law will go into effect in 120 days.

Last-minute amendments suggested by Mr. Ludeman allow gun owners to bequeath their guns to an immediate family member, but eliminated an exemption for antique guns.

The law allows owners of such weapons to keep their guns legally by completing an acknowledgment form that describes the make, model, and serial number of the weapon. The form, which the owner keeps, must be signed and notarized.

Violation of the law is a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The measure was one of four pieces of gun-control legislation Mayor Carty Finkbeiner sent to council in August, 1998.

Amended forms of two others - one that bans the possession and sale of small, easily concealed guns and another that would make it a crime for anyone to leave a loaded firearm anywhere that someone under age 18 is likely to gain possession of it - were adopted by council in 1999.

Council yesterday unanimously rejected the fourth proposal that called for owners to register separately each weapon they own with the police department, instead of registering themselves as gun owners, which the law now requires.

Toby Hoover, director of the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence in Toledo, said she was not surprised council rejected the gun registration proposal because members expressed early on that they felt the requirements were too much to ask of the community.

She praised council and the administration for the work it did on the semiautomatic weapon law, which she said, produced a law that is “fair, good, and safe for the community.”

Ms. Hoover said her group's goal is to make the community safe and encourage prevention. “This stops secondary sales. That's a prevention and that's what we're out to do,” she said.

Toledoan John Mueller said he believes council was fair by allowing opponents and supporters ample opportunity to express their views and suggest amendments. However, he said he is not pleased with the final draft because he believes the law is unnecessary and punishes gun owners, not criminals.

William Stephenson, a Toledo resident who is Wood County public defender, said the law “will not save a single, solitary life.”

“It's a typical feel-good approach that will have no positive effect on deterring crime,” he said.

A 1994 federal law banned sales of certain types of semiautomatic rifles, semiautomatic pistols, and semiautomatic shotguns, commonly referred to as assault weapons.

But the law allows people who owned such weapons before the law went into effect to keep them and pass them on to others, either through sale or bequeathal.

Toledo's law was aimed at eliminating that secondary market.



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