CLEVELAND - The FOX 8 I TEAM has found that a new program to help fight gun violence in Cleveland is having no impact whatsoever.
In November 2015, the city began requiring people convicted of gun crimes to come in and register their addresses. This way police would have a better idea where dangerous felons may be. Convicts can even be hit with new charges for not registering.
However, a year later, the I TEAM discovered no one has ever signed up, and no one has been punished for not signing up.
Assistant Safety Director Tim Hennessey said, “To date, no one has signed up on the gun registry.” And he added, “No, we have not prosecuted anyone either.”
We checked the city’s website. You can find the rules for the program, if you do a search.
We called city hall as a citizen might, and a woman on the phone in the Safety Department could only give us vague instructions sending us to the Cuyahoga County Justice Center.
Convicts can pick up forms at police headquarters. But a man there couldn’t remember anyone ever asking for a form.
Activist and artist Gwendolyn Garth isn’t surprised the gun offender registry hasn’t made a difference. She said, "Sometimes we make these laws, and we don't know, or think 'em through, and we don't know exactly what kind of impact it’s gonna have."
The Assistant Safety Director also says Cleveland now wants to require signing up as part of probation or parole for gun convicts. So, the city isn’t giving up. Hennessey added, "It’s a good law, and we're hopeful, and we're gonna keep working to get people registered."
We contacted the Cleveland Municipal Court and the Cuyahoga County Court to find out if judges might start making the gun offender registration part of probation. We have not yet heard back.