Cleveland, OH – Amid Budget Cuts, Ohio Judge Tells Citizens to Carry Guns


    Cleveland, OH – One judge’s solution for citizens feeling less secure because of budget cuts in an Ohio county: Carry a gun.

    Judge Alfred Mackey of Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court advised residents Friday to be vigilant and arm themselves because the number of deputies has been cut about in half because of a tight budget. He also urged neighbors to organize anti-crime block watch groups.

    “They have to be law-abiding, and if they are not familiar with firearms they need to take a safety course so they are not a threat to their family and friends and themselves,” Mackey said Friday.

    Mackey, whose comments were first broadcast Thursday by WKYC-TV in Cleveland, was expressing concerns with budget cuts that have trimmed the sheriff’s department from 112 to 49 deputies in the county, which is Ohio’s largest by land area.

    Asked by WKYC how people should respond to the cuts and limited patrols, he said, “Arm themselves. Be very careful and just be vigilant because we’re going to have to look after each other.”

    Andrew Pollis, who teaches law at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, saw the original TV clip of Mackey and said it was clear the judge wasn’t advocating vigilantism.

    Still, Pollis said, snippets of the comments could be misunderstood “as a license, if you will, to engage in conduct which we as a society collectively would not want.”

    In Akron, Summit County Common Pleas Judge Patricia Cosgrove, president-elect of the Ohio Common Pleas Judges Association, said she was surprised by Mackey’s suggestion.

    “That’s scary to me,” she said. “I don’t know what the situation in Ashtabula County is. I personally would never — that’s a personal choice in terms of carrying a weapon.”

    With deputies assigned to transport prisoners and serve warrants, only one radio car is assigned to patrol the county of 720 square miles, excluding municipalities with police departments. The sheriff’s patrol area covers most of the county, the judge said Friday.

    Mackey said the response to his comments has been positive in the mostly rural county between Cleveland and Erie, Pa.

    “People in this county are hunters,” said Mackey, who grew up on a farm with rifles and still owns firearms. “People have familiarity with firearms.”

    Messages seeking comment on the judge’s remarks were left for Sheriff William Johnson and county commissioners.

    Johnson has threatened to sue the commissioners to have some of his department’s funding restored.

    The jail in the county of about 100,000 people has held as many as 140 prisoners, but the number has dipped to about 30 because of reductions in the guard staff. About 700 people are on a waiting list to serve time in the jail.

    Ohio has had a concealed handgun law for five years, and from October to December the Ashtabula County sheriff issued 54 licenses. Twenty-eight licenses were renewed.

    Follow VosIzNeias For Breaking News Updates

    Entertaining Videos and Delicious Recipes on


    1. I fail to see how in ny, making it difficult to legally obtain a firearm deters crime…
      it doesn’t seem to stop the criminals from acquiring them. hmmmm

    2. After a 12 hour class, and a stringent background check, my Wife and I, and dozens of yidden in the community here in Cleveland carry guns. We have at least 2-3 people in shul every Shabbos and Yom Tov who actively carry with them. We all have to do our part. Hashem doesn’t work alone.

      • Please be very careful with these – recently there was accident where a person thought that his friend’s gun wasn’t loaded and he accidentally shot himself – about 30 yrs old – very dangerous in the wrong hands- please beware. Also, if people are on waiting lists to get into jail, where are they? Wonder what makah we are up to here.

        • This should be a non-story. After all, it is NOT the police’s job to protect you from crime. They have no legal obligation to do so. It is primarily each person’s responsibility to protect himself, and that’s why the second amendment protects our access to the means to do so. It’s sad that in so many cities the authorities have long ignored the Bill of Rights and have disarmed people and made them helpless against criminals. It’s even sadder that they’ve convinced people that it’s better so.

        • Gun safety is very important. I taught it for quite a few years and have legally carried a concealed firearm for several more. Remember four simple rules (Treat all guns as if they’re loaded at all times, Keep your finger off the trigger unless you’re aiming it at a target, Only point a gun in a safe direction, Be aware of your target and what’s beyond it) and it’s easy to be safe about them. If you can operate a car or a gas stove safely you can do the same with firearms.

    3. I live in cleveland and am one of many frum jews who own a firearm. I prefer the springfield xd sub compact. I believe guns are a good thing to own. One would not want to be caught in a situation where an evil person is controlling his wife and family while he sits helpless. The law in ohio is that with a licence, you can carry a concealed weapon into any store that does not display a sign that expressly prohibits it. You weak hearted frummy’s who are scared of guns would think that banks would post this no guns allowed signs. The fact as that NONE of the banks prohibit guns. The logic is that if they would prohibit guns, a would be burglar would know that he is the only one carrying and feel more comfortable. Think about that.

    4. Two corrections here:

      1. Ashtabula isn’t in Cleveland. It isn’t even a suburb of Cleveland. It’s a bit up the lake shore, so you New Yorkers who think Denver is in California because it’s west of NJ can relax. We Clevelanders haven’t joined the NRA in a mass.

      2. Guns are Muktzeh. If someone is carrying one on Shabbos and isn’t required to (e.g. a policeman or an Israeli soldier or guard) then the person is being oiver Shabbos. If you don’t believe me, ask a shaila. It’s cute and “macho” to pack steel, but when I was young (a very long time ago) violence was something that non-Jews did. Killing in self-defense, as in the IDF, was considered a dreadful necessity and not something to boast about. It seems that we are beginning to walk in the ways of the goyim, no matter how many kashrus chumros we keep.

      • #2 is 100% flawed.. carrying a gun in self defense is a jewish thing.. despite what years of eastern europe ghetto’s have brainwashed you with.

        Guns are not muktza, they arwe a davar shemalachto boh.. firing a gun in self defense is a chiyuv m’deoraisa.. they are less muktza than a sledsge hammer used to break open a nut.

        Its nothing to do with macho.. your a pretty hateful guy.. I think the shomrim guys and their walkie talkie’s are macho wanabee’s\


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here