CHAGRIN FALLS — Village Council on Monday approved the repeal of a 62-year-old law requiring all gun sales be reported to the chief of police.

To Mayor William Tomko, the state-required repeal is “just another chipping away” of home rule and chartered towns like Chagrin Falls.

It was a unanimous vote with Councilman Robert Williams absent from the session.The now-defunct law stated:

“No place of business or agent of any place of business shall sell any firearm within the municipality without furnishing in writing to the chief of police the name and address of the purchaser of the firearm, the type of gun, the trade name of the firearm and the manufacturer’s serial number.  Such name, address and other information shall be furnished within thirty days after the sale of the firearm.”

Councilwoman Angela DeBernardo, chairman of the village Safety Committee, said the repeal would bring the law into compliance with the Ohio Revised Code’s more liberal laws which negate background checks.

On that basis, the repeal protects the village from exposure to lawsuits, according to Law Director Dale Markowitz.

Challenges could be brought by those testing the sanctity of local laws which may be more stringent than state law such as the Chagrin Falls firearms reporting ordinance.

Council members were largely silent on the repeal, although Safety Committee member Councilwoman Erinn Grube said the repeal was “concerning” to her.

Before the council meeting was adjourned the discussion took a more philosophical turn.

Audience member Kathy Goldman asked, “Do you mean anyone can come into this room carrying a gun?” Mr. Markowitz nodded in affirmation.

Then she asked if businesses such as the Chagrin Falls Howard Hanna Realty office, where she works, can still post signs prohibiting guns.

Mr. Markowitz said they could, but theorized there could be a prohibition of such signs in some government offices.

After the meeting, Ms. DeBernardo confirmed that the repeal will now permit the operation of a gun store on Main Street without the constraints the Chagrin Falls law provided. Other local laws regarding firearms and explosive remain on the books, for now.

Currently the cities of Columbus and Cincinnati are fighting the Ohio legislature over the home rule issue and House Bill 228, which prohibits them from passing their own gun restrictions which those city leaders say violate the “separation of powers” in the Ohio Constitution.

In response to how or if the village might address other changes in Ohio’s gun laws, Ms. DeBernardo and Mrs. Grube were going to an Ohio Municipal League meeting next week and planned to find out what other smaller municipalities are doing.

Cities have tried to ban rapid fire bump stock guns within their borders, but a Franklin County judge ruled such a prohibition would be unenforceable, according to local officials.

The just-repealed Chagrin Falls gun ordinance was passed in 1957 in response to a second-floor gun shop operated by Lyndall Hughes, which could only be accessed by a narrow spiral staircase from his real estate office on the first floor of the building. The Yours Truly Restaurant addition is now located there.

A veteran reporter and columnist, Barbara Christian has been covering Chagrin Falls since 1967 and is currently responsible for Chagrin Falls village events, government and school board news along with her weekly column "Window on Main Street."

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.