Panel OK’s revision in gun law

By Joshua Benton
Blade Staff Writer

Page 17

A Toledo council committee has approved a change in the city’s gun-control laws that could help stop anyone with a domestic-violence conviction from getting handguns.

The council’s public safety committee unanimously approved an ordinance that would allow city officials to refuse to issue a handgun identification card to people with such a conviction, even if it is a misdemeanor.

“It’s a minor change, but it can give the police a reason not to give out a card to someone,” said John Madigan, senior city attorney.

The change would bring the city’s handgun ID card law in line with the federal Brady Act rules, which prevent the purchase of a handgun by anyone convicted of domestic violence.

The issue came to the fore last month, when a mental patient was accused of walking into the psychiatric office of Dr. Wakil Khan and shooting him. He remained in critical condition yesterday in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

The patient, William Vanzant, was issued a city handgun ID card in February, despite a misdemeanor domestic-violence conviction.

Sgt. Louis Beringer, administrative supervisor for the Toledo police records section, said that in the last three years, the city has issued ID cards to about 100 people with misdemeanor domestic-violence convictions.

Under existing city law, the city had no choice but to issue them, Mr. Madigan said.

Currently, a handgun card cannot be issued to someone who is under 21, has been convicted of a violent felony or a drug offense, or is drug-dependent, among other restrictions.

The handgun card does not entitle its holder to carry a gun, only to have one on the premises of his home or business.

The ordinance now will appear on the agenda for Tuesday’s regular council meeting.