RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney is again pitching new laws to crack down on gun violence in Richmond. Stoney is proposing a local ordinance to force gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms within 24 hours. Anyone who doesn’t could face a $125 civil penalty for a first offense and $250 for any subsequent offenses.
Stoney said that these stolen weapons often end up in the hands of criminals, who then commit violent crimes.
More than 350 guns were stolen in Richmond, so far this year. Many of those weapons are then illegally sold, and used within a few weeks, according to Richmond Police Chief William Smith.
“(The law would) provide a measure to reduce straw purchases. Recently, we’ve had a number of cases in which the time (from illegal purchase) to crime has been relatively short… In many cases, 20 days or less,” said Chief Smith at a press conference Wednesday morning, alongside the mayor at city hall.
Smith says this would help detectives track down guns before they're sold to criminals. After a crippling summer for gun violence in Richmond, Stoney is doubling down on his effort to get guns off city streets.
Markiya Dickson, 9, was killed by stray a stray bullet in a southside park. Jaquez Moses, 11, survived a gunshot wound in the same incident.
“This year has been especially difficult for me as I think about those we’ve lost due to gun violence,” said Stoney.
Aggravated assaults involving firearms in Richmond are up to 40 percent, compared 31 percent at this time last year.
On a state level, Stoney says the Virginia General Assembly has repeatedly shot down laws that would require reporting lost or stolen firearms.
Stoney is relying on a provision in state code that describes police powers, to enact his law locally. He says if passed by the city council, the ordinance would take effect immediately.
"We’re just tired of waiting for the General Assembly, and frankly, enough is enough,” said Stoney.
In June, Stoney proposed legislation to ban guns from city buildings and parks. The Richmond City Council approved it. But, the ordinance could only be enacted if the state General Assembly passed a law giving localities the authority to make such bans. However, state lawmakers failed to pass anything in a special gun-control session called by the governor over the summer.
The mayor also proposed an ordinance that would allow police to ticket drivers who they catch using their cell phones while also showing signs of distracted driving, like swerving or running a stop sign.
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