LA to consider criminalizing failure to report theft
Calif. Rifle & Pistol Assocation reports that the LA city council will consider a measure making it a crime to fail to report a lost or stolen firearm within 48 hours.
The strange part about those laws to me is -- why wouldn't a person report a theft? The logical reason is that they know it's wasted effort since it won't be investigated. Police are overloaded with theft reports, and really can't take much time. I've reported two thefts that I recall. In one, a detective did call back and said he would check pawn shop reports for the sertial numbers. In the other, the theft was from a glove compartment, I offered to drive it down to the PD parking lot so they could fingerprint the inside of it without having to do anything other than come out of the office. They declined, giving me some tale that fingerprints "evaporate" and thus would already be gone. My father had one gun theft, and never bothered to report it since, he observed, nothing would be done anyway.
This is one of the measures on the table tomorrow in the Pennsylvania General Assembly; to require reporting of any gun theft. I'm not sure what this is really meant to accomplish. The only thing I can figure is to give some technically for which to nail someone on who sells a pistol to a friend who is a prohibited person then later clames said friend stole the gun.
Otherwise, it seems a pretty useless requirement, and tomorrow I will communicate to my representative that I think most reasonable people wouldn't know the legal requirement, and it would potentially ensare otherwise law abiding people who failed to report because they didn't imagine there was such a law and figured the police wouldn't do anything.
Posted by: Sebastian at September 25, 2006 09:33 PM
We have this law in RI already. I always wondered why anyone cares if I report the theft of a firearm. I would do it, mostly to protect myself if the gun were used in a crime, but still. What difference would it make? If someone pulls a gun on a cop, is he going to say "Wait, I need to run a check to see if that gun is stolen!"
Posted by: Jim at September 26, 2006 12:18 AM
I think these laws are to prevent people from claiming theft when they come to confiscate the previously registered firearms.
"We're here to collect the banned firearm that you purchased two years ago and was banned this month."
"I dont' have it anymore."
"Why not? If you sold it legally you're supposed to have a record of who you sold it to. If it was stolen, you were required to report it."
Posted by: Reason at September 26, 2006 04:01 PM
I don't think you're looking at this from the POV of an anti-gunner.
This is yet another way to make people nervous about owning and having a gun. What if the gun you keep for personal protection, which you keep in a drawer next to your bed, went missing? You may not even know about your loss, (I don't check mine every day, do you?) but an anti-gun prosecutor (we've got LOTS of those in Kalifornia) would make you look like a complete fool in court, when your registered handgun is found in the possession of a crook and it's traced back to you.
Next thing you know, you've joined the ranks of the non-gunowning population, since you've been found guilty of a "gun crime." If you're lucky you'll be allowed to sell the rest of your guns, but no surprise if they are confiscated by the local cops instead.
And you won't ever, ever, ever be able to buy any more. Legally, that is.
Oh yeah, I forgot... of course the answer is to keep your defense guns locked up in a safe, so they can't be stolen.... right. If that's what you want to do, then why bother having a gun at all?
Oh, and there may be some misinformation here- my understanding is that this isn't just LA that's considering this legislation, it's the State Gov't: the bill is SB59, and if signed by the Governator will make it a crime not to report a lost or stolen gun within 5 days. (But then maybe LA is doing much the same thing, in case SB59 doesn't get signed...?)
Posted by: Denis Wauchope at September 26, 2006 04:18 PM