Last week, I wrote about how the city of Mobile, Alabama was looking to curb violence by backing a constitutional amendment that would change the state’s rules on bail. It was a bold move, particularly because it’s something that might work.
However, the city is still desperate. Constitutional amendments take time if they happen at all. Violence doesn’t wait for the legislative process, unfortunately, so the city is still looking for solutions.
Unfortunately, I’m not sure this is the right direction.
Mobile city officials continued Tuesday to debate how to best approach a rash of gun thefts from unlocked vehicles at a time of rising gun-related violence.
The latest ideas to surface included a proposal to utilize an existing city ordinance to ticket gun owners who leave their weapons inside unlocked vehicles, only to have them stolen and wielded in a crime; and a proposal to support state legislation that makes it a felony to be in possession of a stolen firearm.
The City Council decided to hold off until next week before voting on a resolution.
“We need to do something,” said Councilman C.J. Small, referring to recent violence in Mobile underscored by the late March shooting of 18-year-old Williamson High School senior Ty’Corey Crawford while he played video games inside his house.
“I am tired of people saying, ‘C.J., what are you going to do?’” Small said.
Small pushed for the city’s administration to consider applying “reckless endangerment” offenses against gun owners whose weapons are stolen from unlocked vehicles and used in a crime.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve lashed out at people for leaving guns in unlocked vehicles. Frankly, I’m not going to change my opinion of people who do that. It’s stupid and careless. There’s no excuse for it.
But believing it’s stupid is a far cry from thinking people should be punished for it.
Whether they’re intelligent or not, these people are still the victims here. They’re the people who criminals took advantage of, and it’s generally a crappy move to punish the victims. Victim-blaming is frowned upon these days for a reason.
Yet that’s precisely what a law like this would do.
Not only that, but watch people stop reporting their guns were stolen out of their unlocked cars. They’ll either claim they locked the door or simply refuse to report it. After all, they’re not going to invite themselves to be fined by the city. It’s just not going to happen.
I get wanting to find a solution to the problem of violence, but even if there was never a firearm left in a vehicle anywhere in Mobile, violence would still be an issue. Violence is a problem with people, not with guns. Guns are just the tools many of these jackwagons use, and they have sources aplenty for them.
That said, if you want to stop guns from being left in cars, maybe it’s time to end any and all gun free zones in the state and pass constitutional carry. After all, why leave a gun in your car (locked or unlocked) when you can carry it on your person at all times? Solves the problem nicely. Plus, the added bonus is that criminals will be faced with more armed citizens.