Louisiana bill shifts liability to gun owners for firearms stolen from unlocked cars, used in felonies

Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 10:15 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A bill proposed by a New Orleans state senator would hold gun owners liable for civil damages if their firearms are stolen from unlocked vehicles and used in subsequent felony crimes.

Senate Bill 216, filed this week, was quickly hailed by New Orleans City Council president J.P. Morrell.

“In Orleans Parish, most vehicle burglaries have the same motive: To locate and steal unsecured weapons,” Morrell said. “This legislation will not only promote responsible gun ownership but increase public safety across the state.”

The proposed law would apply only to owners of guns stolen from unlocked cars that later are shown to be used in the commission of a felony.

State Sen. Gary Carter (D-New Orleans), the bill’s sponsor, said the proposed law is in its early stages, and he is having conversations about possible revisions with both proponents and opponents.

“I think everyone agrees we have too much gun violence,” Carter said. “Often times, the guns end up in the wrong hands. So, what do we do to make sure ... if you’re practicing responsible gun ownership, don’t leave your gun in an unlocked car. Don’t leave it unsecured in your car.”

Carter said he hopes the bill, even if revised, will send a message encouraging responsible gun ownership.

“We’re trying to prevent gun violence in the City of New Orleans, and throughout the state of Louisiana,” Carter said.

Meanwhile, some gun shop owners said they’re seeing increasing demand for lockboxes or safes that can be installed in vehicles to hold firearms.

“Personal responsibility is always key,” said Daniel Kudryashov, co-owner of Freedom Brothers Armory in Metairie. “Being smart about how you handle a firearm in any type of situation. Whether your gun is in your house, in your car, on your person, it should always be paramount.”

Kudryashov and his brother Michael said they’ve put in orders for safes with pin pad combinations or key access for customers who want to carry a gun but can’t take it inside a location.

“People are getting shot in their car on the interstate, much less in a crowded environment downtown or some ducked-off back alley somewhere,” Michael Kudryashov said. “It’s a lot more real than some people think.”

Senate Bill 216 was filed Monday and has been referred to the Senate’s Committee on Judiciary A.

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