A. A person who recklessly traffics in the property of another that has been stolen is guilty of trafficking in stolen property in the second degree.
B. A person who knowingly initiates, organizes, plans, finances, directs, manages or supervises the theft and trafficking in the property of another that has been stolen is guilty of trafficking in stolen property in the first degree
Bottom line: if police arrest you for or with a stolen gun, you need to provide a “satisfactory explanation” as to how you came to own it. The Silver State Legislature has codified permissible inferences in ARS 13-2305:
1. Proof of possession of property recently stolen, unless satisfactorily explained, may give rise to an inference that the person in possession of the property was aware of the risk that it had been stolen or in some way participated in its theft.
2. Proof of the purchase or sale of stolen property at a price substantially below its fair market value, unless satisfactorily explained, may give rise to an inference that the person buying or selling the property was aware of the risk that it had been stolen.
My retired peace officer friends tell me that prosecution in cases where a private individual buys a firearm – without “reasonable knowledge” that it was stolen – are unheard of. Equally, remaining in possession of a firearms stolen more than three years previous to the sale significantly reduces the possibility of being charged with trafficking in stolen property. A case out of Wisconsin confirms my understanding of the law.
Darrail Smith [above] was at the scene of a number of shooting incidents. He had a concealed carry permit. When police arrested Smith they discovered that several guns in his possession were stolen. From jsonline.com:
Darrail claimed ownership of the two guns found in the Tahoe, telling police he bought them online several months prior, and disclosed he was a concealed-carry permit holder, the complaint says. One of the guns was reported stolen from a parked car in Milwaukee in 2013.
Carrington was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and posted his $5,000 bail soon after his arrest.
Milwaukee police referred a charge of receiving stolen property against Darrail, but prosecutors declined for lack of evidence that Darrail knew the gun was stolen, according to Lovern, the deputy district attorney . . .
Six months later, Darrail Smith again came to the attention of Milwaukee police officers.
Darrail had a Ruger pistol sticking out of his waistband.
By then, other officers had arrived to help.
Darrail told one of the officers he had a second gun, which had fallen down his pants leg. When officers searched him, they found not only a Glock 9mm pistol in his pants, but also a Springfield 9mm pistol in a holster on his waistband.
All three guns were loaded, and the Ruger pistol had been reported stolen. Police seized all three, and a couple of weeks later, Darrail filed a petition asking a judge to order the guns returned to him.
The point is that a known associate of criminals at a couple of crime scenes who was found with two separately stolen guns was not prosecuted because there was a lack of evidence that he knew the gun was stolen. Darrail was eventually charged with another crime, but not for possession of a stolen gun.
On May 26, prosecutors charged Darrail and Carrington with two counts of conspiracy to commit possession of a firearm by a felon. Carrington is also charged with being a felon with a gun and bail jumping.
Carrington was arrested on May 28 and posted $5,000 bail. He has pleaded not guilty.
Darrail remains at large.
If Darrail wasn’t prosecuted for possession of a stolen gun, it’s highly unlikely that a legitimate purchaser who can explain how he legally purchased a firearm that turned out to be stolen, would be prosecuted. If police or prosecutors determined that you had a stolen gun in your possession, you might end up having to return it to the rightful owner. And that’s about it. And that’s as it should be.