Mainstream media continues to chase the recent spree of smash-and-grab robberies plaguing businesses across the country, and rightly so. As crime rates are reaching a point of crisis, leaders like Virginia’s newly elected Lt. Governor Winsome Sears are rightfully standing up against lawlessness. But it’s prompting some lawmakers to seek rash, ineffective solutions.
Unfortunately, a recent piece of state legislation, Virginia’s SB 341, is one of them. Instead of giving police precincts the tools they need to do their jobs and crack down on crime, Virginia policymakers are willing to kowtow to large corporations pushing legislation villainizing small business owners and online sellers.
Let’s be clear — this chaos isn’t being spurred by retirees, stay-at-home moms, or college kids selling things like homemade jewelry or greeting cards online. This wave of organized retail crime is a direct result of a Democrat agenda that essentially incentivizes theft. For example, Prop 47 in California downgraded the charges from a felony to a misdemeanor if the value of the stolen goods is less than $950, a policy that 59 percent of state voters now want to see overturned after witnessing the havoc it wreaked firsthand.
We need to be tougher on crime. But policy proposals like SB 341 only stand to hurt honest online sellers making more than an arbitrarily low sales threshold with a slew of red tape regulations that could shutter their virtual doors. Sadly, Virginia isn’t the only state where the fate of small online businesses hangs in the balance. Other red states like Missouri, West Virginia, and Ohio propose similarly onerous policies targeting small business sellers.
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So why are conservatives across the U.S. touting a bill that favors stifling our small business economy over empowering law enforcement to target this in-store crime at its source? It’s sad, but it’s simple. The wizard behind the curtain pushing this bill is big-box retail. The Walmarts of the world think passing mandates like this across the country can slow down e-commerce so that Big Retail can catch up.
Instead of doing the bidding of Big Retail, we should focus on stopping smash-and-grab robberies with common-sense legislation that’s tough on crime. We can’t just scapegoat America’s virtual Main Street and continue to give crooks a pass.