Trying to be objective

After reading the USCCA Feb 15 Blog: “Guns in the News All Eyes on Virginia”, I read all six of the proposals in the Va. legislature (none have passed yet) and as I read this proposal: “Sponsored by Jeffrey Bourne (D – Richmond), House Bill 9 requires individuals who have lost a firearm or had a firearm stolen to report to law enforcement within 24 hours after discovering the loss. It imposes a $250 fine for failure to do so. The bill also says that anyone who reports a loss or theft is immune from liability for subsequent actions involving the stolen firearm”.

Okay as I said I’m trying to be objective here and I am sincere in asking. What could be the negative side to this proposal? I know that bad guys are not going to report their stolen firearm but wouldn’t you or I report a legally purchased firearm if it were stolen from any one of us?

7 Likes

The fact that they are forcing you to pay a fine for not reporting. Yes, any honest citizen is going to report stolen firearms. However this is where you need to pay attention to all of the bills being put out there.

Lets say you report your stolen firearm, police show up to take the report. Your firearm was staged in your nightstand. You have a few other firearms staged. Using your report as an excuse the police show up a few hours later with an ERPO claiming your lack of keeping your firearm in a safe deems you unfit. As they search your house they find whatever else you have, possibly including firearms the other new bills have banned.

It’s a bill put out there as bait to snag people up in the other garbage bills they’re making. This is of course my tin foil hat opinion.

17 Likes

@Spence Agreed, Part and parcel of the “Common Sense Gun Control” agenda. In the end it’s all about confiscation and control. Even if it seems common sense do not give an inch.

10 Likes

Thanks for your input. You gave a really good reason to wear my firearm while in my home rather than staging them in various places of the home. Thankfully we don’t have red flag laws in my state of Kansas, yet, but we now have a democrat for a governor who is certainly not a moderate democrat.

3 Likes

The same in Wisconsin, we are fighting anything he would propose just on general principle.

4 Likes

Patrick I’m glad you brought this up. IMO anyone who is responsible will report a stolen firearm ASAP. Why wouldn’t you? I’m also in favor of responsible storage of firearms. My grandson lives on a 50/50 basis with his dad and mother. His dad’s guns are locked in a safe. However, his mom and hubby #2 have loaded firearms all around their house. They rationalize it by saying T. (my grandsons nickname) knows what will happen if he touches one. It makes me sick but there is little I can do.

I carry daily but I use quick access safes when the EDC is in the house. All other guns are locked in the big Liberty safe. It’s the only responsible thing to do.

I’m undecided on universal background checks but I never sell or buy without going through my favorite gun shop. They happily help me out as I’m a frequent customer.

4 Likes

While I agree that I would report a stolen firearm @Patrick3, I do not believe it should be a criminal offense if I do not do so or if I do not do so within the time limitations in the statute. At first, I liked the idea that reporting would provide immunity, but again, why would the victim of a crime be held criminally liable for the criminal acts of another person that stole the weapon.

11 Likes

I can think of “criminal negligence through improper storage” for one, or even “criminal facilitation”. I don’t believe the indemnification is the real point of this bill. Passed as described it would appear to offer some protection for legal gun owners. Consider, though, that subsequent to this law other laws could also be passed mandating specifics of firearm storage, ammo storage, or even whole-house security systems for homes with firearms. Then, during the investigation arising from a lawfully reported theft of a firearm, the authorities could inspect the home for compliance with the storage laws and end up charging the victim with related crimes. The indemnification could also be nullified pursuant to a finding of storage requirement violations. It may even end up that your home would need to pass inspection regarding the storage/security compliance before being allowed to purchase a weapon.

The end game could be to scare off the law abiding citizens by piling red tape and costs and extended liabilities onto the decision to exercise a constitutional right.

It only sounds paranoid until it happens.

5 Likes

Is there a penalty for timely reporting of a stolen car? Statistically speaking cars cause thousands of more deaths a year than guns do, so why shouldn’t that be a law?

BTW, I appreciate you looking at it from that side and attempting to be objective. It’s what helps drive rational dialogue and helps us find defects in our own arguments/positions.

8 Likes

If you could just, for one second, be able to trust their intentions. You can’t really believe they are acting in good faith in light of their words and actions. I would report it asap but will worry, in the future, about what may happen next. I just can’t trust them.

6 Likes

You have to remember that the only job legislators have is to pass laws. Its like having a hammer…when you have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

So, they look at bad information being spewed by anti-gun people like this:

"Reporting Lost & Stolen Guns
Every year, hundreds of thousands of guns are lost or stolen in America, with one gun stolen from an individual owner every two minutes. Stolen guns can be diverted to the illegal gun market, where they are used to fuel crime across the country. Lost and stolen reporting laws help reduce gun trafficking by requiring individuals to report loss or theft to law enforcement shortly after discovering it." (Source: https://lawcenter.giffords.org/gun-laws/policy-areas/gun-owner-responsibilities/reporting-lost-stolen-guns/#identifier_2_468)

Law makers don’t want stolen guns to end up on the street and in the hands of criminals. Neither do law abiding gun owners. However, the law makers read information like that above and say “we need to pass a law”. So they push a law like this, thinking that doing so will make everyone safer. But does it? How does this law make everyone safer? Criminals have little concern whether the gun they use to commit their crimes is stolen or not.

Passage of a law requiring gun owners to report firearms stolen within 24 hours of discovering them stolen does NOTHING to prevent, deter, or punish criminals for stealing firearms or possessing stolen firearms. It does NOTHING to make criminals engage in less crime.

If lawmakers want to make a true impact on criminal conduct, pass laws that increase the punishment for stealing a firearm or possessing a stolen firearm.

The more we allow them to pass gun laws thinking “well, how is that bad for us”, the more we go down the path of more and more restrictive gun laws. How we have it in California should be a cautionary tale for everyone else.

Here is just a sampling of what I personally have to deal with in California because of incremental “common sense” gun laws that have passed over the years:

  • I cannot buy, transfer, or import magazines that hold more than 10 rounds
  • I must go through a background check EVERY TIME I buy ammo
  • I must wait 10 days before taking possession of any firearm I buy
  • I cannot buy more than one firearm per month
  • I cannot buy any handgun that does not appear on the CA approved roster of “safe” guns (https://oag.ca.gov/firearms/certified-handguns/search)
  • And, I can’t buy the latest and greatest handguns (no Glock 43, no Taurus PT-111 G2, no Mossberg MC1sc for me) because no new semi-autos can be added to the “safe” roster now unless they are “designed and equipped with a microscopic array of characters that identify the make, model, and serial number of the pistol, etched in 2 or more places on the interior surface or internal working parts of the pistol, and that are transferred by imprinting on each cartridge case when the firearm is fired.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_A.B._1471)

Remember, these kind of law makers see gun owners as the problem and in need of being regulated and controlled, not the criminals.

8 Likes

My goodness! I knew California is heavily regulated when it comes to buying firearms but I had no idea it is THAT bad. That is ridiculous, especially having to undergo a background investigation to purchase ammunition.

4 Likes

I have a hard time agreeing with criminal negligence or facilitation, unless there were other statutes or regulations providing the basis for these. Criminal negligence requires usually requires at least recklessness. And lets face it, banks get robbed, are the banks criminally culpable for the robbery? And you are assuming that the storage was improper. And facilitation requires that the person “knowingly” take actions that assist in the commission of a crime.

The one instance where I see the “victims” are being prosecuted, are when cars are being stolen when the cars are left running with the keys in them. This is especially true when there is a child left in the car. In KY it is a crime to leave a car running with the key in the ignition. A woman was charged with wanton endangerment when her car was stolen with her 13 mo old child in it as she ran in to the UPS store.

Indemnification may not be a big deal but immunity is a big deal.

I agree that these laws will be webbed together with other laws, new or existing, like the KY running car law. But things like safe storage laws cannot be black and white. Like training, I believe in safe storage. But safe storage for me and my wife is different than safe storage for my friend who has 11 children ages 6 mos to 17 years.

I agree with you that they are trying to create fear in firearms ownership. By giving immunity to those who report, it is in essence saying that those who do not will not only be criminally liable for not reporting but may be criminally or civilly liable for the use of the weapon after it is stolen.

4 Likes

Which is the basis of my misgivings. The law granting immunity is, in and of itself, a good thing. But the subsequent addition of statutes and regulations mandating exactly what constitutes safe storage could place so many preconditions on the immunity as to render it chancey to rely on. Couldn’t the court take the position that the “recklessness” or “knowing action” lies in the failure to properly comply with the storage mandates?

Don’t just such “black and white” or one-size-fits-all storage laws already exist in some jurisdictions? While I make no pretense to understanding the minds of the anti-gun crowd, thus far I haven’t noticed much in the way of the sort of nuanced thinking needed to craft storage regulations which are sensitive to individual situations.

I live in a household comprising three adults. We have few visitors of any age and it is uncommon for the house to be empty at any given time. What counts as safe storage in my house is quite different from what would be prudent in my neighbors house, considering the school age children living there and the frequent family gatherings which take place. I don’t necessarily trust a distant legislature to take note of the difference, let alone accommodate that difference in statute.

All that being said, I completely agree with reporting stolen weapons as soon as possible for a variety of reasons, not least of which being the creation of an official record that a particular weapon is no longer in my possession or control.

5 Likes

I am with you @David38! In the legal world there is supposed to be some nexus with the act and the injury. We call this causation which is broken in to two parts, “but for” causation and proximate causation. But for is pretty simple, it is but for this action, the injury would hot have occurred. For example, but for me running the red light, the collision would not have occurred. This can be carried too far which is where proximate cause comes in to play. For instance, but for me waking up this morning, the collision would not have occurred or but for me purchasing my car 10 years ago, the collision would not have occurred. Technically, all of these are true. If I didn’t have a car or if I stayed in bed, there would be no collision. Running the red light is the proximate cause. If I didn’t run the red light, none of the other stuff would matter.
Proximate cause is much more difficult to determine. There was a CA car chase and a police helicopter collided with a news helicopter. It is clear that pilot error was the cause of the collision. But, since both choppers were there specifically because of the car chase, it was determined that the driver of the car was legally responsible for the deaths of the occupants of both choppers.
The thing with proximate cause is it can extend the culpability of a person to the negligence of others. The easiest example is a car wreck where someone is taken by ambulance to the hospital and dies, but not from the injuries of the initial wreck. If the ambulance is hit by another car, and dies, the original person can be held liable for the death. If a doctor performs surgery and he does it wrong and person dies, it relates back. The negligence of others is foreseeable so it all traces back. But, if the persons ex shows up at the hospital and pumps him full of morphine causing him to die, that is not foreseeable and the initial car wreck would not be the proximate cause of the death. The last event is called a “superseding intervening” cause which breaks the chain of causation from the original event. The unrelated criminal acts of others fall into the category of a superseding intervening act.

None of this is to say that any of this will protect someone, but, it should and would lead to many court challenges.

2 Likes

The reporting laws make it tough to claim you lost your guns in one of those boating accidents that are so common these days.

4 Likes

What if they are lost in a lake in another state without such a law?

6 Likes

Weapons stolen from citizens are not the majority of weapons in criminal hands. This is a falsehood used as a hammer for gun control.

5 Likes

Good point. I have also wondered about the “Gun Buy Back” loop hole… when the gestapo show up for my guns I plan to have a few scented candles and “Bath & Body Works” gift cards in my gun safe!

4 Likes

This law might be intended to discourage straw buyers. It is not uncommon for a straw buyer to claim a sold pistol has been stolen when the police track a pistol used in a crime back to them. It would be obvious what they are up to if they report a stolen pistol frequently. I’m not sure it would actually be a deterrent, but that could be the intent.

2 Likes