Mayor's attempt to blame shooting on Constitutional Carry falls flat after suspect's criminal history is unveiled

Mayor's attempt to blame shooting on Constitutional Carry falls flat after suspect's criminal history is unveiled
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Just hours after a mass shooting in Cleveland, Ohio left nine people injured last weekend, Mayor Justin Bibb tried to pin the blame for the violence on Ohio’s Constitutional Carry law, telling reporters that the law itself directly led to shots being fired.

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During Sunday afternoon’s press conference, Bibb said the shooting is due to Senate Bill 215.

The bill, which went into effect in June 2022, grants Ohio citizens over 21 years of age to concealed carry without a permit.

“Across this state, from Cleveland to Columbus to Cincinnati we’ve seen an uptick in shootings across our state,” Bibb said.

As we pointed out yesterday, that’s not entirely true. Homicides are on the rise in Cleveland and Columbus, but are actually trending downward in other Ohio cities, including Cincinnati, Toledo, and Akron.
That wasn’t the only falsehood uttered by the anti-gun mayor on Sunday, however. Police have now arrested a suspect in the shooting, and despite Bibb’s claims that SB 215 is to blame it sounds like the man police believe is responsible is prohibited from lawfully possessing or carrying a firearm. 25-year-old Jaylon Jennings was arrested in Lorain on Tuesday, about thirty miles from where the shooting took place on Saturday night, and police in both Lorain and Cleveland have had plenty of previous contacts with him over the past several years.

19 Investigates learned Jennings’ criminal record dates back to at least 2018.

In fact, he was arrested twice before this just this year.

Court records show lots of criminal convictions in Lorain County and Cuyahoga County including several instances of drug trafficking and drug possession.

Jennings is currently facing charges in Lorain for possession of a controlled substance, driving with a suspended license, domestic violence, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and unlawful restraint.

Court documents show those cases are still pending.

Court records also show Jennings doesn’t have the best track record for showing up to court.

He failed to show up in the courtroom at least a dozen times over the years.

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If Jennings was previously convicted of drug trafficking as 19 News reports, then he was convicted of a felony offense and isn’t able to lawfully carry a firearm, which means Ohio’s permitless carry law doesn’t come into play at all. Under SB 215, only those who can lawfully possess a firearm can carry without a license, and given Jennings’ previous criminal history it appears he was precluded from doing so.
A better target of Bibb’s ire would be the court systems in Lorain and Cuyahoga County, which has continually delivered slaps on the wrist to Jennings despite his repeated no-shows in court.

News 5 investigator Scott Noll discovered that a man with the same name and birth date as Jennings was out on bond at the time of the shooting. The man had been arrested and was awaiting trial in Lorain County for drug trafficking and drug possession charges. In that case, Jennings was released on $5,000 bail.

Other records show a man matching Jennings’s name and birth date was busted again in Lorain County in a separate drug case in March of this year. In that case, records show Jennings was released on his own recognizance.

In addition, Cleveland Municipal Court Records show a Jaylon Jennings with the same birth date failed to pay all his fines and court costs from a 2018 disorderly conduct conviction and had an outstanding warrant.

Amazing. Even though Jennings had an active warrant he was released from custody twice this year, once without having to pony up a single penny as bond. Will Mayor Bibb show the same outrage towards the failures of the criminal justice system that he displayed towards Ohio legislators? I sure hope so, but I’m not holding my breath, and I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that Bibb will ever acknowledge he was wrong about the role that SB 215 played in Saturday’s shooting. It wasn’t the permitless carry law that allowed Jennings to allegedly carry out this crime. It was a court system that turned a blind eye to his repeated transgressions, spitting him back onto the streets when he could have been behind bars.

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