AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
Last week, I reported how Mobile, Alabama is so desperate for solutions to its violence problem that it was looking to start punishing those who were the victim of theft. In particular, those who had guns stolen from them.
Well, Alabama’s not considering it anymore. No, that’s not a good thing, though not as bad as it could have been.
It’s a step forward in the local fight to regulate stolen guns.
The Mobile city council passed a resolution Tuesday to urge state lawmakers to pass a law that would allow municipalities to enact local laws to regulate stolen weapons.
Now, Alabama’s still moving forward on a plan to urge legislators to amend the state constitution, so it can deny bail to those who are likely to commit further crimes while released.
Luckily, both of these measures are simply urging state lawmakers to act, which means it’s little more than a humble request. Originally, city officials had discussed charging people, but apparently, someone decided not to pull a Pittsburgh and test Alabama’s preemption laws. Probably a wise move.
That said, the idea of punishing those who have their guns stolen is dangerous. On the surface, it may make some degree of sense. If people lock up their firearms and don’t leave them in the car, they’re not as easy to steal. Same if they lock them up at home.
The problem is, people aren’t going to change their behavior. They’ll simply opt not to tell law enforcement if their guns get stolen.
Right now, there’s at least some incentive to tell police that a firearm has been taken. In theory, if it’s recovered, you can get it back. Assuming, of course, it’s not evidence in a crime. But since Alabama doesn’t have gun registration, that only happens if you report it stolen.
Yet plans to punish those who have their guns stolen tend to include punishments that will drastically outweigh those incentives. It’ll be enough to make theft victims shrug, think, “Oh well,” and go about their day. Police will then be clueless that a stolen gun is out on the streets. Should it be used in a crime, they won’t know anymore more about it.
Now, please tell me how that’s preferable to the status quo?
A far more productive answer would have been to offer support for constitutional carry and the elimination of gun-free zones throughout the state. After all, why leave a gun behind when you can have it on your person without jumping through any hoops? Just throwing that out there.
Not only would it cut down on gun thefts, but it’ll also cut down on the violence as a whole. If the number of guns on good guys’ belts increases overnight, the risk of being a criminal also goes up overnight. Perhaps exponentially so because more guns equal less crime, despite what the anti-gunners try to claim.
It’s just a thought, but you know what? It makes a hell of a lot more sense than punishing people victimized by criminals.