This week Mayor Mitch Landrieu signed into law an ordinance that requires reporting of stolen firearms, bans handguns and other dangerous weapons these from city recreational facilities, and creates a crime of “negligent carrying” of a concealed firearm, triggered when somebody is placed in “reasonable apprehension” of its discharge or is carried in a way that also causes this discomfort by someone else. State law already covers the last and the ban in parks extends current limitations, although questionably given state law regarding preemption. In other words, these provisions do next to nothing relative to what already exists, and would have no impact on crime as criminals will not have legal handguns in the first place and will brandish them anyway in commission of crime.
But it’s the reporting requirement, within 48 hours of discovery of theft, that causes the real head-scratching. The thinking behind it appears to be this prevents unscrupulous owners from selling weapons to criminals and then by asserting past theft of these disclaiming any responsibility for aiding in commission of a crime if the weapons turn up at the scene.
Yet such individuals easily may evade such consequences. For example, they could claim a private sale to an imaginary person, or that they never knew of its theft in the first place. Worse, people who have no connection to criminal activity could run afoul of this if victimized by a theft about which they never knew, such as if it disappeared from a place in a garage they did not check often. The law only burdens law-abiding citizens without deterring crime.
However, most appallingly of all, policy-makers approving the measure seemed unable to fathom these aspects and labored under misinformation to justify what they did. Council Jason Williams provides the prime example of the intersection of ignorance and inability to think critically when he agreed with the sentiment behind a statement made by a representative of a gun control interest group as justification for the measure, that Louisiana ranked “number one in gun homicide rates, and 43rd in weak gun laws. The correlation cannot be missed.”
Except that’s mischaracterized and built upon pure myth. When looking at total state homicide rates (necessary because if more restricted in use of guns other weapons remain available), there’s essentially no statistical correlation between the strength of gun laws (as figured from two sources) and homicides (including accidental deaths). In fact, if conceiving strength of laws as more restrictive of gun ownership, to make these stronger bucks the trends of increasing ownership of firearms and a decreasing gun homicide rate.
Ignorance of the new ordinance’s requirement could net a heavy fine. Unfortunately, the new ordinance itself is built upon heavy ignorance.