Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, killings and shootings have risen dramatically in New Orleans. According to a report by the Metropolitan Crime Commission, violent crime is up drastically compared to last year. This trend mirrors the ones seen around the country as communities are reeling from the pandemic and its economic fallout. Keep reading to learn more about the correlation between firearms and COVID-19.
NOPD Furloughs Could Make City’s Rise in Violent Crime Worse
City statistics show that New Orleans is experiencing a sharp rise in violent crime, and some are criticizing the city’s mayor for furloughing police officers. Just last year, New Orleans reported 121 murders, an unusually low number. This year’s statistics show that homicides and aggravated batteries were up 87% and 37%, respectively, while arrest rates for these crimes dropped 16% and 35%.
Guns in the Home During Coronavirus
One unexpected effect of COVID-19 was the increase in gun sales across the country. According to the FBI’s National Crime Center Information, background checks processed on March 16, 2020, increased by 300% over the same day last year. As lockdown orders spread across the country, millions of Americans flocked to their local firearm store motivated by fear and uncertainty.
Weakness in the Background Check System
Under the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, federal law requires licensed gun dealers to conduct a background check before completing a gun sale. However, there are loopholes some sellers use to complete the sale.
- Charleston loophole: In most cases, the seller submits a background check to the FBI and can have a result within minutes. In others, however, the system is unable to make an immediate decision. If this happens, the FBI has three days to complete a background check. If not completed within that time frame, the seller has the discretion to complete the sale without a background check.
- Private sale loophole: Private sellers are gun dealers who are not licensed. These sellers do not have to proceed with background checks. However, they are not permitted to sell to someone they have reasonable cause to believe is prohibited from possessing guns. Still, they are not obligated to take steps to ensure a buyer’s eligibility.
Coronavirus Elevates Risk for Domestic Abuse Victims
While staying home and self-isolating is crucial to slow the coronavirus spread, it’s important to remember that not everyone is safe inside their home. Here are some of the ways the pandemic could put domestic abuse victims at even more risk:
- Isolation from friends, family, and work colleagues
- Reduced access to shelters and counseling
- Limited access to emergency services
- Increased time spent with abuser
When an abusive partner or parent has access to firearms, a victim is more likely to be killed.
Safe Gun Storage Matters Even More During COVID-19
Whether you own a gun or not, we can all play a role in gun safety. Gun owners should make sure their firearms are securely locked away. They can also talk to other gun owners and educate them about the importance of safely storing firearms. When a gun is stored, make sure it is:
- Separated from ammunition
- Inaccessible to children
Following those simple steps can significantly decrease the risk of accidental gunfire in your home.
Expert Attorneys in Louisiana
If you’re a victim of gun violence, consider reaching out to the expert criminal defense lawyers at The John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm. Over his 25-year career, Attorney Eric Johnson has made it his mission to provide expert legal strategy. You need a trustworthy and experienced attorney on your side.
Eric is a problem solver who’s committed to thoroughly investigating your case and devising a successful defense. He’ll launch a legal investigation into your case to present the strongest possible argument in court. To schedule a free consultation, call (318) 377-1555 or complete our online contact form.