The Philadelphia Inquirer are such renowned experts on firearms and legal theory, and they believe this “Lost and Stolen” thing is a no brainer.
Come on gang, this isn’t much to ask. The concept is simple and should be noncontroversial: If you own a handgun that’s lost or stolen, you’re required to report it.
Modest? You bet. This proposal – which brought 10 busloads of Philadelphians to the capital the other week with CeaseFirePA – would help stem the sale of illegal handguns, while not infringing upon anyone’s rights.
As reported in The Inquirer last week, Pennsylvania’s lax gun laws permit traffickers to supply hundreds of weapons each year to the state’s meanest streets, as well as those in New Jersey and other neighboring states.
As I’ve stated several times, the problem with this bill is that it’s meant to reduce the state’s burden when it is unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person has engaged in a straw purchase. When it’s difficult for the state to meet its burden, it is not, and should not be an acceptable course of action to lower that burden. That will result in innocent people going to jail, and our system is supposed to protect against that, not encourage it.
If this law passes, there will be people who are victims of thefts, who are unaware of the law, and who have not engaged in any straw purchasing, who will end up being charged under this when they claim their firearms were stolen, after those firearms are later recovered on the streets. The reason the suburban politicians are all behind this is because upper middle class suburanites all have insurance companies and police departments that are concerned about property crimes. They won’t think twice about reporting stolen or missing firearms. It’s the poorer citizen, both rural and urban, who are going to end up being victims twice. The first time when they had their property stolen, and the second time when they end up charged becuase they didn’t know they had to report it to police. That is not justice. That is a travesty, and in a society that proports to care about the rights of the accussed, should not be acceptable practice.
Straw purchasing is already a serious crime, and the state should be held to its burden of proof. That will mean that sometimes the guilty go free, but that’s generally something we’ve accepted as the cost of living in a free society. This is a dangerous road the Philadelphia politicians are wanting to go down, and I’m disappointed and outraged that a lot of suburban politicians are willing to go along with this because their constitutents have the money to stay out of trouble.
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