Read the Law – It gets worse

The signing of a bill to make criminals out of ordinary citizens who fail to report a stolen in Connecticut is making its way around the blogosphere, but it’s always good to read the actual law.   You can read the whole act here.

(a) Any person who lawfully possesses an assault weapon under sections 29-37j and 53-202a to 53-202k, inclusive, and subsection (h) of section 53a-46a or a firearm, as defined in section 53a-3, that is lost or stolen from [him] such person shall report the loss or theft to [law enforcement authorities] the organized local police department for the town in which the loss or theft occurred or, if such town does not have an organized local police department, to the state police troop having jurisdiction for such town within seventy-two hours of when such person discovered or should have discovered the loss or theft. Such department or troop shall forthwith forward a copy of such report to the Commissioner of Public Safety. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply to the loss or theft of an antique firearm as defined in subsection (b) of section 29-37a.

Most of these bills, including the one in Pennsylvania, are specific to require reporting after discovery of the theft.   That doesn’t mean you need to constantly inventory.   However, if you notice the part I highlighted in this bill, you will see a big problem with this one.  What defines “should have discovered?”  Who gets to decide whether I should have?   Either you’ve discovered it or you haven’t.   This is RIPE for abuse.

Any person who fails to make a report required by subsection (a) of this section within the prescribed time period shall commit an infraction and be fined not more than ninety dollars for a first offense and be guilty of a class D felony for any subsequent offense, except that, if such person intentionally fails to make such report within the prescribed time period, such person shall be guilty of a class C felony. Any person who violates subsection (a) of this section for the first offense shall not lose such person’s right to hold or obtain any firearm permit under the general statutes.

So it goes from a summary offense to a class D felony on the second count?  Absolutely ridiculous.   If I get two guns stolen, and I discover it two weeks later, and prosecutor decides I should have discovered it, I’m facing a felony count?   Pardon me if I don’t say “screw you” to the politicians in Connecticut.  Connecticuit has always been a moderately anti-gun state.   Looks like they are moving to join their neighbors in being a place that likes to find excuses to lock up law abiding gun owners.

It also adds a new crime of firearms trafficking:

(a) A person is guilty of firearms trafficking if such person, knowingly and intentionally, directly or indirectly, causes one or more firearms that such person owns, is in possession of or is in control of to come into the possession of or control of another person whom such person knows or has reason to believe is prohibited from owning or possessing any firearm under state or federal law. (b) Any person who violates any provision of this section shall be guilty of a class C felony if such person, on or after the effective date of this section, sells, delivers or otherwise transfers five or fewer firearms, and a class B felony if such person, on or after the effective date of this section, sells, delivers or otherwise transfers more than five firearms.

This is a bad law, and they are trying to pass similar legilsation in Pennsylvania.  I will continue to fight it here.   My current state rep supports the anti-theft provisions.   I am going to write him about what has just happened in Connecticut, and tell him to make sure it does not happen here.

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