Newspaper supports reporting requirement for stolen guns
Article here. The claim is that it would prevent straw men and illicit gun suppliers from claiming a gun had been stolen from them, after it turns up in crime. To my mind:
1) It's interesting that none of the calls along these lines ever come up with numbers, or even a single anecdote. How often, if at all, is a gun traced to an illegal supplier who claims it was stolen? If a supplier is making a living at it, you'd expect multiple crime guns to be traced to him, which would make repeat claims of theft rather suspicious. I haven't heard of a single case where this sort of thing happened, and the proponents of these bills seem unable to come up with one, either.
2) If they want to get the supplier, there is a simple way. Give the criminal user use immunity -- nothing he reveals can be used against him, hence no self-incrimination, but it can be used against someone else. Put him in front of the grand jury and ask where the gun came from. Then prosecute the supplier using his testimony. Then you have the supplier on something serious (under federal law, as I recall, supplying a gun with knowledge it would be used in crime carries a 10 year sentence), rather than misdemeanor failure to report, which would probably result in a modest fine.
The proposed Pennsylvania law made it a fine for one gun failing to be reported. If you had more than one gun, it bumped it up to a felony. These laws are going to land good people in jail. Hell, as far as I know they can't even be used against criminals since they can't be forced to incriminate themselves by reporting a gun it would be illegal for them to have.
Posted by: Sebastian at March 23, 2008 02:27 PM
These "stolen gun" requirements are VERY dangerous. When guns are registered and confiscated, they will be fining and jailing gun owners who can't account for every firearm.
Posted by: Robert at March 24, 2008 11:16 AM
Robert: if you're lucky.
What got Neil Knox into the game was hearing a story in basic training by an eyewitness of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. A father couldn't find a gun registered to him, even given many minutes to search his house.
The Germans gathered the entire family including wife, children and maybe a baby in the town square and shot them in front of the general populace.
You and I know this sort of behavior is hardly beyond many of our adversaries, even if they don't dare speak it today.
Today (this very day, as I type this), they're just doing door to door "voluntary" searches in D.C. (see the comments in the Prof. Dorf article, although I'm sure you'll hear a lot more about it soon ... something tells me they don't think they'll win their case, although this search was announced some weeks ago).
Posted by: hga at March 24, 2008 01:37 PM
The closest I can think of for #1 is the DC Sniper who stole that Bushmaster AR from a gun store.
I think afterwards they determined from both sides it was actually stolen and not illegally purchased.
Posted by: GeorgiaPacking at March 25, 2008 02:22 PM