Mobile City Council asks for help from state leaders to prevent theft of guns from cars

Mobile County
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MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) – The past few weeks, safety in Mobile has been a hot topic. Violence was on the city council’s agenda again Tuesday, with a potential solution to help curb some of the violence.

About 1,200 guns were stolen from cars in 2018, and the majority of those were taken from unlocked cars. Now, the city council is asking for help from the state to try and bring those numbers down. 

“I feel like something needs to be done,” said Sylvia Reed, a Mobile resident concerned about the violence in the city.

For about a month, Mobile city leaders, and people who live in the city have been concerned about violence across the city.

“I’ve actually felt the effects of violence, I also had a nephew killed by a gunshot, a home invasion, which has been very touching to me,” said Reed. 

“The whole issue has been trying to get gun owners responsible, and keep their guns secure so they don’t end up in the hands of criminals and subsequently used in crime,” said Public Safety Director, James Barber. 

One of the main issues is stolen guns from cars. The city has asked gun owners to lock up their guns for several months.

“We’re about 25 fewer guns taken this year, year-to-date than there were last year, and that’s a very recent downturn. We’re hoping the message has gotten out,” said Barber.

Now, the city council is also turning to the state legislators for help.

“It’s time for us now to look at different laws to make sure our citizens are safe. There are many citizens that are afraid to leave their home,” said Councilmember CJ Small. 

Right now, Alabama law prevents local regulation of firearms, which means city council cannot take any legislative action when it comes to gun laws.

They’re asking the state to change that.

“Just give us some type of leeway in trying to do something so we can handle these gun laws in our local jurisdiction,” said Small.

As it stands right now, there have been double the number of homicides in the city of Mobile in the first three months of 2019 than in the same time period of 2018. City leaders have since started working to target problem areas and curb that trend. 

“You’ll see a concentrated effort by Mobile PD to go to the areas that we’re having an abnormal amount of shots fired or shooting activity. They’re already well into that program, and so they’re recovering guns, just about nightly,” said Barber. 

But for some, the number of stolen guns on the streets is worrisome. 

“The thoughts have crossed my mind that I do need a gun, but trying to figure out how to keep it safe is another reason,” said Reed. 

The council has approved a resolution that urges the local delegation to create and back bills that would allow the city to adopt reasonable regulations to prevent stolen guns from cars. 

The resolution also supports two bills currently in the Alabama State House, one would hold the people carrying stolen guns accountable and making it a felony, and the other stopping the “revolving door of crime.”

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