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Old 03-17-2008, 21:20   #1
emt1581
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Reporting of lost/stolen handguns amendment...flaw?

I was watching PCN tonight and saw the mind-numbing debates on the amendment that requires handgun owners to report lost/stolen firearms within 72 hrs.

Now during the debate/interrogation, one of the republicans brought up a few good points. These points have made me go from supporting the ammendment to making me think it's a useless weapon to combat straw purchase(r)s.

1) If the gun is illegally passed on/sold from a straw seller to a buyer, the handgun is neither lost nor stolen...so this amendment technically doesn't even apply to penalize either party pertaining to the illegal transaction. In other words, since the gun hasn't been lost or stolen, this amendment doesn't apply.

2) The amendment focuses on the term "knowingly". My question is, how do you PROVE someone knew something?...other than to record them specifically agreeeing to such a thing?

What do you think on these points?

How effective is this amendment at targeting straw sales?

Thanks!

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Old 03-17-2008, 23:07   #2
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The law applies because the straw purchaser usually declares it was stolen. If so, then he should have reported it.

They "knew" it was stolen because they said it was stolen.
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Old 03-20-2008, 19:35   #3
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I'm curious about this. It sounds good. Gun owner guns get stolen or lost (how do you lose a gun), owner does not report. Signals have been sent at this point have they not?

Basically it is supposed to stop people from buying a gun (legally) selling it (illegally) and then when it does come back to "haunt" them then they say, "Oh it was stolen".

If it’s this basic, gun owners like you and me would report our gun(s) stolen. And if we didn't we could or would be in trouble.

Am I making this too simple? If I am please help me out.

Thanks and have a great night and weekend!
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Old 03-20-2008, 21:07   #4
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No, you pretty much got it.

Whoever came up with the law is trying to stem straw purchases. They are assuming that honest gun owners will be reporting their lost or stolen firearms.

Right now, the illegal purchasers can say, "oh it was stolen" and nothing happens. If the law passes they would be hit with a crime, and presumably prevented from buying any more firearms, thereby ending the straw purchases.

Of course they could say........"Oh my......you mean my gun was stolen?? I haven't checked on it in a week, month, year, etc. I wonder who took it?"
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Old 03-20-2008, 21:49   #5
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No, you pretty much got it.

Whoever came up with the law is trying to stem straw purchases. They are assuming that honest gun owners will be reporting their lost or stolen firearms.

Right now, the illegal purchasers can say, "oh it was stolen" and nothing happens. If the law passes they would be hit with a crime, and presumably prevented from buying any more firearms, thereby ending the straw purchases.

Of course they could say........"Oh my......you mean my gun was stolen?? I haven't checked on it in a week, month, year, etc. I wonder who took it?"
And what will differentiate a straw purchaser and a law abiding gun owner who has so many guns that he truly didn't realize he lost one or one was stolen.
I think its a usless law that can and will punish the wrong people.
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Old 03-20-2008, 22:38   #6
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I think it would really be easy to investigate and establish the difference between a gun collector like me, who has many guns and doesn't see or touch certain guns for 6 months at a time, and straw purchasers.
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Old 03-21-2008, 05:16   #7
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I think it would really be easy to investigate and establish the difference between a gun collector like me, who has many guns and doesn't see or touch certain guns for 6 months at a time, and straw purchasers.
I agree with this. While a law abiding citizen "could" get in trouble, that is not reason for a law at all. Why is it that people who know they don't commit crimes are worried about laws.

If its that simple then let them try it. They have to try something in Philly. The amount of illegal guns on the street is out of hand. Obviously they come from somewhere. Parenting is not working, where are the the 1000 or so "men" that are supposed to help. I see a big push for Philly police recruitment, maybe this will help. I don't know and none of us have the answers, but something has to be done.

I know this much, if its a law or not, and find one of my guns missing I will report it immediately.
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Old 03-23-2008, 06:13   #8
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There is an article in today's (Sunday) Inquirer about this subject.

Happy Easter everyone!
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Old 03-27-2008, 11:48   #9
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Like all other toothless "common sense" gun legislation- it's not actually designed to reduce crime, it's a "thin end of the wedge" measure.

They pass it.
5 or 10 years down the road they say, "it didn't work like we had hoped. We need something more stringent".
The "tougher" law gets passed.

The cycle repeats.
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Old 03-28-2008, 19:30   #10
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Like all other toothless "common sense" gun legislation- it's not actually designed to reduce crime, it's a "thin end of the wedge" measure.
With the issue of "Straw" purchases how could it not help with crime. Currently anybody that can legally buy a gun can sell it to someone else with no ramifications. If that gun is used in a crime, which most of these are, then the original buys says, " oh it was stolen". If you read the Inquirer article you can see that this is a serious issue. Big deal, now you have to report your stolen or "lost" gun(s). Everyone here is, or should, believe in the law. Why not try to make it harder for criminals to buy guns. This law doesn't say you can buy one or even limit how many you can buy. All it says is report "lost" or stolen guns.

I love my gun rights, but I too love my driving rights. I think this should be a little more restrictive. As well as, parenting.
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Old 03-31-2008, 19:46   #11
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Originally Posted by c0boy View Post
With the issue of "Straw" purchases how could it not help with crime. Currently anybody that can legally buy a gun can sell it to someone else with no ramifications. If that gun is used in a crime, which most of these are, then the original buys says, " oh it was stolen". If you read the Inquirer article you can see that this is a serious issue. Big deal, now you have to report your stolen or "lost" gun(s). Everyone here is, or should, believe in the law. Why not try to make it harder for criminals to buy guns. This law doesn't say you can buy one or even limit how many you can buy. All it says is report "lost" or stolen guns.

I love my gun rights, but I too love my driving rights. I think this should be a little more restrictive. As well as, parenting.
So I own several guns that I haven't actually laid eyes on in months. To the best of my knowledge, and I have no reason to assume otherwise, they are safely locked up in the safe where I left them.

Suppose I'm wrong.

Suppose the day I put them in the safe, a sneak theif took them out, and in the intervening months has committed 5 murders with them.

The police trace the guns back to me.

I "should have known" they were stolen monhs ago, therefore am now a criminal for not reporting their theft.

Bad law.


Furthermore, I can only assume this law will carry a far less stiff penalty than a straw sale would, right? So if the city is gonna prosecute someone, they're gonna want to prosecute him for the straw sale, and not the falure to report a theft- and the two are mutually exclusive. IE- if he sold the gun to a criminal, the gun was never stolen, therefore he couldn't report it stolen. If they charge him with failure to report a theft, he's off the hook for the straw sale, as the gun was "stolen", not sold.
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Old 03-31-2008, 19:49   #12
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And may I add... There's a range/shop here in town that has been linked to an inordinant amount of weapons purchased through "straw" buyers. I forget the exact number, but it's more than half the guns discovered in the city to have been purchased that way came from one shop.

It seems to me like keeping a close eye on that business and it's clientelle would be a good way to truncate the problem a bit.
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Old 04-01-2008, 05:48   #13
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FWIW,

I'm a fan of AM talk radio, and this morning Micheal Smerconish (1210WPHT) brought this subject up on his show. He even had some NRA spokesperson on to lay it out, and M.S. even disclosed that HE is a Pennsylvania gun owner.

I called and managed to get thru. For those who don't know, your comments when calling in to talk radio must be brief and to the point, or you get dropped. I managed to say the following for the Philadelphia audience:

Quote:
Good morning!
My greatest concern is that any gun laws are going to hurt Pennsylvania gun owners. Many folks bring up the U.S. constitution, but the PA state constitution is even more clear on the gun issue saying,

"The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned"

I'm not confident that any additional gun measures in Pennsylvania are not questioning my rights. This opens the door for Pennsylvania gun owners to be victimized.
The above is more or less what I said, when I call into shows and can, I try to pre-write out what I have to say while I'm on hold. Makes for better public speaking.

If I had gotten any additional time, I really wanted to ask if similar laws had been passed in other states where this has had a measured and proven effect on crime?
I think I know the answer to that one.
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Old 04-12-2008, 06:14   #14
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So I own several guns that I haven't actually laid eyes on in months. To the best of my knowledge, and I have no reason to assume otherwise, they are safely locked up in the safe where I left them.

Suppose I'm wrong.

Suppose the day I put them in the safe, a sneak theif took them out, and in the intervening months has committed 5 murders with them.

The police trace the guns back to me.

I "should have known" they were stolen monhs ago, therefore am now a criminal for not reporting their theft.

Bad law.


Furthermore, I can only assume this law will carry a far less stiff penalty than a straw sale would, right? So if the city is gonna prosecute someone, they're gonna want to prosecute him for the straw sale, and not the falure to report a theft- and the two are mutually exclusive. IE- if he sold the gun to a criminal, the gun was never stolen, therefore he couldn't report it stolen. If they charge him with failure to report a theft, he's off the hook for the straw sale, as the gun was "stolen", not sold.
What if, what if, what if. Blah, blah, blah. What if "I Am Legend" really happens. If we own guns (which we do) you should be responsible for them. This is part of gun ownership. Every night I come home I unlock my 36 chamber a round and put it where I can reach it (no carry permit yet). When I do this I check on my UPS at the same time. Guess if you have more guns it might take you longer, but the is your RESPONSIBILITY.

I highly doubt if this was a real law that you would be found "guilty" of anything. You might be out of some of your time. Stop worrying about yourself. This is how guns get on the street, plain and simple. Nobody has posted up a viable alternative to help with this epidemic. If you have a better idea then lets here it.

Playing the what if game, what if you came home and noticed gun(s) missing, what would you do next?
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Old 04-12-2008, 07:40   #15
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What if, what if, what if. Blah, blah, blah. What if "I Am Legend" really happens.
spoken like someone who really takes their right to keep and bear arms pretty seriously.


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If we own guns (which we do) you should be responsible for them. This is part of gun ownership. Every night I come home I unlock my 36 chamber a round and put it where I can reach it (no carry permit yet). When I do this I check on my UPS at the same time. Guess if you have more guns it might take you longer, but the is your RESPONSIBILITY.
Of course. But if you legislate gun laws, you should also do so responsibly that means asking the "what-if's" to ensure that innocent law abiding citizens aren't punished down the line by folks who follow strictly the word (and ignore the spirit) of the law. We don't advocate irresponsibility - we just advocate responsibility sans broad legislation.

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Stop worrying about yourself. This is how guns get on the street, plain and simple. Nobody has posted up a viable alternative to help with this epidemic. If you have a better idea then lets here it.
How about this for a viable alternative:

- the city of Philadelphia starts enforcing laws already on the books and pressures the Judicial community to sentence at the maximum end of their capabilities.
- viable "anti-snitch" policies are implemented by the District Attorney's office to combat the "don't talk to the PO-LEASE" epidemic in Philly. Victims who are called to testify and refuse should be held in contempt of court and jailed themselves. They are a major problem, and result in criminals walking free.
- on a related note, any retaliation towards victims testifying in court should be treated with the harshest penalties possible. Threatening phone calls, letters, visits, or any attempts or acts of violence should be met with a police crackdown followed by a lengthly incarceration for anybody involved in witness intimidation. Cooperating witnesses should be offered police protection if deemed necessary. The media would do well to make good witness's into hero's... color it as "the good guys fighting back" and more folks will report and combat crime in the city.
- I would (ballpark) estimate that Pennsylvania would have to build 4 new prisons to accommodate the massive overflow that such a Judicial crackdown would create. That is unfortunate, but how about if we hire Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio and mirror his creation of tent prisons for lower-level offenders. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Arpaio
There is plenty of space for tent prisons around the 1700+ acres at SCI Graterford, and in the winter time prisoners could attend classes to learn about Valley Forge during the Revolutionary war.

I know that many will say that this plan is not viable, but I will cut that off by pointing out that everything I outlined has at least loosely been carried out elsewhere in the country with success. If Arizona can do it, so can we. In fact, the only viable solution to Philadelphia's problems is to punish the bad guys, plain and simple. Additional gun legislation won't be enforced any more than the rest of their unenforced laws, what they need is a hard line drawn in the sand.
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Old 04-14-2008, 13:58   #16
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I love my gun rights, but I too love my driving rights.
you do not have any "driving rights". there is nothing in the US or state constitutions saying your right to drive will not be infringed or questioned.

Quote:
Why is it that people who know they don't commit crimes are worried about laws.
ah, the old "if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about" fallacy. ask these people how well that worked out:

wllie geen
sherman townsend
manuel hidalgo
richard jewel
brandon mayfield
etc.
etc.
etc.

or just check out the innocence project.

as for a better alternative than criminalizing gun owners who don't realize they have had a gun stolen, perhaps try locking violent criminals up and keeping them locked up?

and...make it a crime to falsely reporting a firearm as lost or stolen (which actually just passed the PA house a week or so ago)...and actually prosecute straw purchasers using the existing laws as well as that one.
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Old 04-14-2008, 22:24   #17
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What if, what if, what if. Blah, blah, blah. What if "I Am Legend" really happens.
I'm prepared!

Quote:
This is how guns get on the street, plain and simple. Nobody has posted up a viable alternative to help with this epidemic. If you have a better idea then lets here it.
1823, Logan Square, Philadelphia, PA.
Popcorn vendors and soft drink hawkers peddled their wares, and earned a decent living in Logan Square that day, as a crowd gathered to watch what ended up being the last PUBLIC HANGING in Logan Square.

It's time to bring them back.

If nothing else, think of the popcorn vendors, man.
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:29   #18
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Originally Posted by c0boy View Post
With the issue of "Straw" purchases how could it not help with crime. Currently anybody that can legally buy a gun can sell it to someone else with no ramifications. If that gun is used in a crime, which most of these are, then the original buys says, " oh it was stolen". If you read the Inquirer article you can see that this is a serious issue. Big deal, now you have to report your stolen or "lost" gun(s). Everyone here is, or should, believe in the law. Why not try to make it harder for criminals to buy guns. This law doesn't say you can buy one or even limit how many you can buy. All it says is report "lost" or stolen guns.

I love my gun rights, but I too love my driving rights. I think this should be a little more restrictive. As well as, parenting.

Not true. You can legally buy a firearm, but you can only legally sell it to someone who can legally own the firearm and then it has to be transfered to that person. Which is exactly what straw purchasers are NOT doing.
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Old 04-27-2008, 05:48   #19
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Originally Posted by BroBrandonB View Post
spoken like someone who really takes their right to keep and bear arms pretty seriously.
My opinion




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Of course. But if you legislate gun laws, you should also do so responsibly that means asking the "what-if's" to ensure that innocent law abiding citizens aren't punished down the line by folks who follow strictly the word (and ignore the spirit) of the law. We don't advocate irresponsibility - we just advocate responsibility sans broad legislation.
Yes agreed, but in what way is a reporting lost or stolen guns law irresponsible? There are always going to be innocent and law abiding citizens affected by every law. Its the way are judicial system works. There is give and take to everything. You, I mean We have the right to bear firearms, but the gun crime in Philly (and else where) is skyrocketing. So there is some give and take. It sucks I know.

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Originally Posted by BroBrandonB View Post
- the city of Philadelphia starts enforcing laws already on the books and pressures the Judicial community to sentence at the maximum end of their capabilities.
Finally, at least we are communicating now. I totally agree. We have a revolving door system which doesnt work. But remember most criminals are really worried about going to jail. Also why not do our best to keep the guns off the streets, BEFORE the gun crime gets committed? I know you will never stop all, but a reduction cant hurt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BroBrandonB View Post
- viable "anti-snitch" policies are implemented by the District Attorney's office to combat the "don't talk to the PO-LEASE" epidemic in Philly. Victims who are called to testify and refuse should be held in contempt of court and jailed themselves. They are a major problem, and result in criminals walking free.
Yes, but step in their shoes. Their family members actually get killed or they do. Its a tough call for some, I do have some simpathy, but not a lot. Good example in my Philly neighborhood, I watched a man parking at an Acme hit a parked car. No one cared, no one looked twice, I was pissed off. He pulled out of that spot and parked somewhere else. I took a pic of his license plate and he must have seen me so he came after me threatening me. I did not back down, that could have been my car, friends family or even one of yours. I could have let it go, it didnt directly affect me and wasn't a major crime, but it was lack of responsibility that got to me.

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- on a related note, any retaliation towards victims testifying in court should be treated with the harshest penalties possible. Threatening phone calls, letters, visits, or any attempts or acts of violence should be met with a police crackdown followed by a lengthly incarceration for anybody involved in witness intimidation. Cooperating witnesses should be offered police protection if deemed necessary. The media would do well to make good witness's into hero's... color it as "the good guys fighting back" and more folks will report and combat crime in the city.
Agreed, people need to stand up. This is within the DAs office and police departments roles. Probably involves money, we all know how that works.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BroBrandonB View Post
- I would (ballpark) estimate that Pennsylvania would have to build 4 new prisons to accommodate the massive overflow that such a Judicial crackdown would create. That is unfortunate, but how about if we hire Sheriff Joseph M. Arpaio and mirror his creation of tent prisons for lower-level offenders. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Arpaio
There is plenty of space for tent prisons around the 1700+ acres at SCI Graterford, and in the winter time prisoners could attend classes to learn about Valley Forge during the Revolutionary war.
I know that many will say that this plan is not viable, but I will cut that off by pointing out that everything I outlined has at least loosely been carried out elsewhere in the country with success. If Arizona can do it, so can we. In fact, the only viable solution to Philadelphia's problems is to punish the bad guys, plain and simple. Additional gun legislation won't be enforced any more than the rest of their unenforced laws, what they need is a hard line drawn in the sand.
What works there may work here or may not. We at least need to try something. Thanks for the discussion BroBrandonB.
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Old 04-27-2008, 19:32   #20
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With regards to the "stolen gun registration" my feelings can be expressed best by a recent editorial by State Rep. Paul I. Clymer. He writes,

Quote:
To the Editor:

Recently, Mark Helman wrote a letter to the editor (April 8) asking me to explain my “no” vote on an amendment (A 6178) that would have required handgun owners to report lost or stolen handguns within 72 hours or face criminal charges. Here is my explanation.

The amendment is unconstitutional. It creates a criminal loophole allowing criminals to avoid liability while penalizing legitimate and law-abiding gun owners. Based on United States Supreme Court decisions, if A 6178 became law, gun prosecutions would be hampered due to the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

The Fifth Amendment provides that “no person ... shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.” A 6178, which requires criminals to report if their illegal guns were lost or stolen, would not be applicable against the criminal and could provide immunity from other criminal charges. In 1968, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the Haynes decision concerning a federal law regarding registration of machine guns and “sawed off” shotguns. The court said, “We hold that a proper claim of the constitutional privilege against self-incrimination provides for a full defense to prosecutions either for failure to register ... or possession of an unregistered firearm.” How did Congress address this problem? It added Section 5848 to Title 26 of the U.S. Code, which said that if a criminal reported an illegal gun he had immunity. As recently as 2006, our 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals stated that this immunity cured the constitutional violation.

Here's the scenario: A convicted drug dealer is prohibited by law from owning a gun. He gets a gun anyway. If this gun is stolen, A 6178 would require him to report the theft. Now, should this individual have a gun? No, we already established that he had a conviction that prevented him from owning guns. Should he go to jail for possessing a gun? Yes; again, he illegally possessed a gun.

Would A 6178 apply to him? No, since his possession of a gun is illegal, requiring him to report the theft is requiring him to incriminate himself and a violation of the Fifth Amendment. Further, according to the Constitution, the drug dealer may be insulated from other criminal charges.

So the amendment is unconstitutional. Nevertheless, the fight against gun violence needs our collective effort. While government certainly has an important role in combating street violence, the family, schools and church must be included in this united effort. Children in particular need to be taught the simple lessons of right from wrong.

I hope my explanation helps everyone to understand my vote on this issue.

State Rep. Paul I. Clymer
145th Legislative District
Can I just say, "Hoorah!" to that?

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What works there may work here or may not. We at least need to try something. Thanks for the discussion BroBrandonB.
No worries! For the first time in a long time, I think two folks on the internet have come to an understanding, if not an agreement. Somebody should be writing about this in wikipedia or something to document the occasion.
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