The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 22, 2013

Ashtabula mulls ban on weapons

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA —  An ordinance revision officially banning people from carrying certain knives, pellet guns, dart guns and billy clubs in the city limits is under consideration by City Council.

City Solicitor Michael Franklin presented the proposal to council’s safety forces committee after some discussion with law enforcement officers, said Ward 1 Councilman Rick Balog, who also chairs the committee.

“Apparently there was a problem with someone carrying very long knives around and there was no legislation to deal with it,” Balog said. “We’re not trying to be unconstitutional or anything like that.”

The current ordinance prohibits brass knuckles, billy, slingshot, sandbag, blackjack or other weapon, or any knife with a mechanical device for automatic release of the blade, opening the knife and locking the knife in the open position, commonly known as a switch or automatic spring knife.

The suggested version adds the following: billy club, including batons or sticks connected or chain, commonly referred to as “nunchaku” or “nunchucks,” a dart gun, a pellet gun, a sap, a gravity knife, a butterfly knife and a knife with a blade in excess of three inches in length from the guard or handle to the tip.

“It is not a violation to have any of the above items secured in the trunk or in a compartment separate from the passenger compartment of a motor vehicle occupied by the alleged offender,” the proposed legislation states.

Both versions do not apply to police officers and both state anyone who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree.

The changes should be ready for council’s vote at the March 4 meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall.