More Preemption Challenges

Both the Pittsburgh papers and the Lancaster papers are running editorials on the “Lost and Stolen” provisions that are being passed around the state:

With every right comes a responsibility. You would think that every law-abiding gun owner would want to report a missing firearm as soon as the theft was discovered and would not object to a law on it for a sound public-safety reason — deterrence of so-called “straw purchases” that criminals use to obtain guns.

Yes, people should report lost or stolen firearms.  I believe that.  But failure to do so shouldn’t result in a huge fine and prison time.  You do not victimize people who are themselves victims.  There’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever that these regulations discourage straw purchasing, which is already a felony.  None.  Nada.  The burden should be on those proposing the regulation that it actually works, and doesn’t risk entraping people who are not involved in the illegal arms trade, which these regulations very much do.

8 thoughts on “More Preemption Challenges”

  1. I feel that this is a way to smash the preemption rule regarding firearms laws. Start out with something that the vast majority of people would agree with, regardless of their ownership status, then go in for the kill.

  2. It seems to me that reporting rules would be used as justification for more intrusion later. – Government employee: “Excuse me sir, I would like to see that pistol you bought a year ago to make sure you haven’t lost it or someone hasn’t stolen it.”

  3. The difficulty with the line of reasoning in the editorials is that they substitute regulatory mandate for self-governance (in the individual sense, not societal). If something MUST be done under the law, then it is no longer a free-will exercise of responsibility or citizenship. Responsibility, therefore, dies out, not because no one is interested in being responsible for its own sake, but because the coercive power of government is used to cause that behavior.

    Would we rather live in a country full of neighbors who are responsible people, and therefore would report a stolen firearm, or assume that our neighbors’ sense of responsibility doesn’t matter because they are regulated into such behavior?

  4. or. to be followed by a requirement to file an annual report of all guns in your possession

  5. It’s a bit like throwing a person who was raped in jail because they failed to report the rape. After all (so the reasoning would go), the person who fails to report a rape puts other people at risk, because the government wouldn’t know to look for the rapist and hence would be unable to stop the rapist from striking again.

  6. My anecdotal tale of shame: I once misplaced a handgun in my own apartment. I set it down somewhere away from its usual place and didn’t remember I had done so. When I missed it, I thought I might have left it in my car, so I went and checked that and found I’d left my car unlocked. For a few hours I seriously thought I’d left my handgun unsecured and it had been stolen. But I found it before I called the police. As far as I’m concerned, things were better all around without an arbitrary rule or time limit to meet.

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