Gun owners will soon be fined for not reporting missing weapons to NOPD

City Council passes ordinance mandating reports of lost or stolen guns

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The city's all-too-common murder scenes usually result from gunfire.

"We're going to look for every way can to reduce the number of our children who are killed in this city," said City Councilman James Gray.

On Thursday, the council passed new gun restrictions that it hopes will reduce gun violence.

"This is not about gun control, this is not about  taking a gun away from a private citizen, this is about being responsible about an instrument that can be used for harm," said Councilman-at-Large Jason Williams.

New Orleans Police Superintendent Michael Harrison spoke in favor of the ordinance that requires legal gun owners to notify police within 48 hours of discovering their gun has been lost or stolen. If they don't, they face fines.

"We're requiring that when a gun is stolen you report it stolen at the time of the theft, not at the time it's involved in the use of a crime," said  Gray.

Gray served in the military and recognizes gun rights. But he said too many guns end up in the wrong hands.

Failure to report a missing gun will result in a fine of $250 for the first violation, and $500 thereafter. Also, as part of the ordinance, city recreational facilities are to become firearm-free zones, and the measure also criminalizes carrying a gun in a negligent way. A violation for that section of the ordinance allows for jail time.

"Louisiana, as you know, council, leads the nation in gun homicide rates," said Victoria Coy of the Louisiana Violence Reduction Coalition.

No one spoke in opposition of the measure during the meeting, but the NRA has criticized the legislation, saying it targets law-abiding gun owners.

Supporters said neighboring communities stand to benefit.

"Because guns taken out of a car on Marengo Street can be taken to other parishes and are taken very frequently to other parishes and used for misdeeds," said Williams.

And under the new law, the NOPD will have some responsibility, as well, including documenting the serial number of lost and stolen weapons. Harrison assured the council he'll get to work on new policy right away.

"We have to create measures of accountability, metrics to see how the enforcement is going," he said.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu is expected to sign the ordinance.

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