BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Receiving a stolen gun is now a felony in Alabama. It was previously just a misdemeanor if the weapon was worth less than $500. Now, no matter the value, you could face felony charges. Governor Kay Ivey signed the new law earlier this week.
"We welcome any kind of legislative support we can get from Montgomery in curbing some of the illegal firearm ownership,” Birmingham District 2 City Councilman Hunter Williams said.
Williams chairs the city’s public safety committee. He says the death of Sgt. Wytasha Carter earlier this year, highlights the need for tougher penalties. Investigators say Carter was killed with a stolen weapon.
"I think the murder of Sgt. Wytasha Carter really exemplifies the problem that we have with stolen firearms here in Birmingham. It’s a great example of why we have to tighten up, through state legislation, on ways that we can limit access to those who should not have firearms in the state,” Williams said.
According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, for the past few years Alabama has ranked in the top 10 in states with the most stolen guns. So far this year in Birmingham, police have removed over 1,100 illegal weapons. Police tell us often times lost or stolen guns can fuel violent crime.
"It’s not secret we have a violent crime problem here in the city of Birmingham. A lot of times those violent crimes occur because of easy access to firearms,” Williams said.
State lawmakers say countless guns have been stolen from unlocked vehicles around the state. They say don’t make it easy for criminals to ransack your car. Keep your doors locked and keep your weapons out of sight.