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Victimized Twice Law Appears in Maryland

Because one-gun-a-month apparently didn’t do much for Baltimore’s stratospheric violent crime rate, the City is going back to the Legislature for more:

Dixon also wants to require gun owners to report lost or stolen guns within 72 hours of discovering their disappearance or face misdemeanor criminal charges. The idea is to allow prosecutors to punish people who are careless with their weapons or knowingly loan them out for nefarious purposes.

“All too often we trace guns used in horrible crimes back to owners who claim their guns were stolen,” Dixon said.

Let me paraphrase this, so you know what they really mean:

Dixon also wants to require gun owners to report lost or stolen guns within 72 hours of discovering their disappearance or face misdemeanor criminal charges. The idea is to allow prosecutors to punish people who are careless with their weapons own a gun or knowingly loan them out because the only reason for owning them is for nefarious purposes.

“All too often we trace guns used in horrible crimes back to owners who claim their guns were stolen,” Dixon said, “Pretty clearly anyone who claims their gun was stolen is a liar and should go to jail.”

Yeah, that’s I think a bit closer to what they would say behind your back. Ignorance of the law is no defense for this “crime”. It will result in perfectly law abiding people ending up in jail, which is exactly the point.

UPDATE: David Codrea makes the point:

And, of course, you can’t compel a criminal–you know, the folks causing all the problems– to report his gun lost or stolen, because that would violate his Fifth Amendment right against self -incrimination.

True.  War on Guns has been pointing out that angle for a while, and I was remiss not to mention that here.

4 Responses to “Victimized Twice Law Appears in Maryland”

  1. The Duck says:

    Well reporting within 72 hours of “knowing” it’s missing, does not really seem, unfair.
    I’d likely be on the phone within a couple of hours of “knowing” it was missing anyway.
    When the house was broken into, we didn’t find it till 12 hours after it was thought to have happened, but the sheriff was called less than one hour later

  2. Sebastian says:

    Most people would. I would as well. But that presumes you know it’s a legal requirement. Plus, most of these laws contain a “should have known or reasonably should have known” provision. Do you want to argue in court you should have reasonably known, before a jury, facing a serious misdemeanor or felony charge?

    I have little doubt this law won’t be much of a problem for average middle class gun owners, who would call the police. It will put at risk lower class gun owners, that live in high crime areas, who aren’t as aware of the law, might not have insurance, and might have a “the police aren’t going to care to do anything about this” attitude. The other group this law is a problem for are gun owners who have an old rifle or pistol in the attack that was passed down from family, etc, don’t self-identify as gun owners, and might not think too much of it in the event of a burglary.

    Most of the activities this law is intended to prevent are already serious crimes, what they want out of this is a serious crime where their burden of proof is very low. I think that’s a bad tool to give the state, whether the topic at hand is guns or not.

  3. David Codrea says:

    And, of course, you can’t compel a criminal–you know, the folks causing all the problems– to report his gun lost or stolen, because that would violate his Fifth Amendment right against self -incrimination.

  4. straightarrow says:

    That’s twice, Sebastian. You keep this up, and nailing it could become a habit.

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