Shreveport City Council Kills Bid To Punish Gun Theft Victims

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The city council in Shreveport, Louisianna had a decision to make. Like most communities, they are having a problem with violent crime and also gun thefts. In an attempt to address the issue, some wanted to penalize some of those who had their guns stolen.

Now, why would they do that? Well, the problem is that firearms are being stolen from unlocked vehicles.

In other words, it’s not enough to have been the victim of a theft, some local officials wanted to make that victimization criminal. Luckily, most of the rest of the city council saw reason.

The city council rejected an ordinance aimed at fighting gun violence, despite pleas from Mayor Adrian Perkins, Police Chief Ben Raymond, and the Republican and Democratic co-sponsors.

Those two council members — John Nickelson and Jerry Bowman — were the only ones to vote for their scaled back proposal. It would have required people to lock up cars overnight if they have guns inside. Nickelson was especially frustrated during debate.

“This is absolutely a step — a modest step, a reasonable step, a rational step — that we can take to address gun violence. And for the life of me, I can’t understand the opposition,” Nickelson said as he urged for support.

But, countered Councilman James Green, “It’s going to penalize innocent folk who just happen to forget they left the gun in the car.”

It’s funny that Nickelson doesn’t get the opposition. I guess he never got the memo that victim-blaming was out of vogue?

That’s all any of these ordinances actually are. They’re victim-blaming under the color of law. Rather than tell a rape victim she was asking for it, though, they blame a gun theft victim for what a criminal does.

As Green points out, sometimes, people simply forget.

Yeah, I’m big on harping on people to make sure their cars are locked and their guns secured. However, people make mistakes. They think their car is locked and it’s not. While it sucks if their guns are stolen and I may have harsh words for someone in that situation, that’s hardly a crime.

What’s next? Arresting people who forget to lock their house? Are we going to arrest rape victims for dressing provocatively? Are we going to penalize carjacking victims for driving in the wrong neighborhoods?

Honestly, this attempt is insane, and yet someone like Nickelson doesn’t get the opposition? Maybe because he doesn’t want to get it. I doubt he’s ever been willing to hear why someone may oppose regulations like this.

Frankly, I’m glad to see Shreveport exercise a little sense and kill this bill. The people of that city deserve better than to risk being fined on top of having a costly piece of property stolen from them. If only more places had the level of basic sense most of the city council in Shreveport seems to have. If so, we’d probably live in a much better world.

Unfortunately, we don’t have that world. We have this one, so let’s try and make things better here.