How Well do the Lost-and-Stolen Laws Work?

In a run up to a memorial event for fallen police officers, reporters watching Harrisburg are waiting to see if Fast Eddie decides to use his speech to honor the officers or use their deaths to push for his gun ban agenda. But in an interesting side note to one of the articles pondering Rendell’s plans, the columnist actually inquired as to the success of Philadelphia’s last gun control stunt – lost-and-stolen reporting.

Philadelphia’s nine month-old lost-and-stolen law, for example, remains under legal appeal that could take another year or two.

Everett Gillison, deputy mayor for public safety, tells me that while 152 guns have been reported lost or stolen since the city law took effect in July, not one has been recovered. Not one.

Not a single result has come from their illegal law that flies in the face of state preemption.

2 Responses to “How Well do the Lost-and-Stolen Laws Work?”

  1. Kristopher says:

    The purpose of “lost and stolen” laws is not to recover firearms.

    It is to allow the state punish anyone who makes an unprovable non-dealer firearm sale in a state where such a transaction is unlawful.

    Don’t have the firearm that was transferred to you? Won’t admit to selling it? Well, if you lost it, we can still punish you.

  2. Bitter says:

    The purpose is to lower the burden of proof instead of making prosecutors build the evidence needed to charge them with a straw purchase. Rather than actually doing investigations into where the gangbangers are getting their guns and building cases around the very strong laws that already exist, they can just try to hang all people who buy guns that end up on the street.

    One of the problems I see is proving when a gun was stolen. For example, if a gun was stolen 10 years ago, but the lawful owner didn’t report it and it turns up now, will an overzealous prosecutor try to say they didn’t follow the law even though the law was not in effect at the time it was stolen? It sets up the burden of proof on the citizen. If our legal system is now guilty until you prove yourself innocent, then we have a very big problem.

    So even though the number of recovered guns isn’t related to that true purpose, if the city and the media choose a crappy unrelated measure that makes it look like the law has failed, I won’t argue. :)