Some support idea of imposing fines to reduce gun thefts from unlocked cars

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by Russell Kinsaul / News 4 | @RussellKinsaul

KMOV.com

Posted on March 12, 2014 at 9:50 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 12 at 10:00 PM

 (KMOV) -- According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, a 9mm semi-automatic handgun was stolen from an unlocked vehicle in the 2100 block of Seckman Road in Imperial on Tuesday. Two weeks ago in DeSoto, a thief got into an unlocked car in the 3400 block of Highland Park Drive and stole a hot pink Ruger .380.

Conceal carry instructor Joel Parks says one of the first lessons he teaches in his classes is the responsibility that gun owners have is to keep their guns secure. He told News 4, “We tell them if they leave it in the car, first off, the car should be locked.” He went on to say, “Because you have a certain responsibility when you have a firearm that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.”

Would imposing a fine of $50 or $100 on gun owners who have guns stolen from unlocked cars be one way to drive home that point? We posed the idea to former police officer and current Missouri legislator from Jefferson County, Representative Jeff Roorda.

He told News 4 that he thought there would be significant opposition to the idea in the legislature. He raised concerns about how you could define “careless” behavior and he thought fining the gun owner would be punishing the victim of the crime. However, we found gun owners like John Wightman who support the idea, “If you leave it in an unlocked vehicle, you’ve crossed the line.” There are currently no proposals in the Missouri legislature to impose fines on gun owners whose guns get stolen from an unlocked vehicle.

Parks recommends that gun owners use a lock box to secure their guns in their cars. The gun gets locked in a secure metal box and then the box is cabled to a metal support for a car seat and then fits under the seat and out of sight.

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