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Gun control advocates want gun owners to report stolen firearms to the government. While “safe storage laws” seem innocuous, they make gun ownership more dangerous, legally speaking, than owning other common items, such as gasoline, motor vehicles or common poisons. “Safe storage laws” subject gun owners exercising their right to keep and bear arms to increased, unconstitutional scrutiny. Indianapolis didn’t get the memo. Or ignored it. From . . .

Shrugging off looming legal concerns, the City-County Council on Monday approved an ordinance requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department or pay a fine.

The proposal was sponsored by Democratic Councilman Kip Tew and passed 15-14, along party lines. But it appeared unlikely that it would take effect, with concerns out of the mayor’s office pointing toward a likely veto.

Those opposing the ordinance had some of their arguments succinctly stated before the ordinance was passed. From

Relford says the proposed ordinance has three inherent problems: 1) It targets the victims of a crime by fining them for being robbed. 2) It is completely unenforceable, since there is no gun federal or state mandated registration, which would make it nearly impossible to prove individual gun ownership. And 3) It violates state statute, and opens the city up to nearly unlimited potential lawsuits.

Indiana passed a strict gun preemption law in 2011. It’s unlikely that this ordinance will pass legal muster. I suspect the law will be vetoed.

“Safe storage law” only “work” where citizens are required to register their firearms. In other words, if the state has absolute (if theoretical) control over all guns and all gun sales. Once gun registration is in place, incremental confiscation follows suit (e.g. bans on “assault weapons” and “large capacity magazines.”)

Nine states and the District of Columbia currently require gun owners to report stolen guns, under penalty of law. Those states are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island. It’s not surprising that most of these states are hotbeds of infringements on Second Amendment rights.

©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
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    • Kalifornia already is beyond that, requiring registration of all handguns when you move here or purchase here, along with appropriate fees as well. Certain cities (LA, SF) also have safe storage laws in place or in committee for further infringement.

      “Persons who move to California with the intention of establishing residency in
      this state must either report ownership of [REGISTER] handguns to the DOJ within 60 days, or
      sell or transfer the handgun(s) pursuant to California law . (Pen . Code, § 28050 .)
      Persons wishing to keep their handguns must submit a New Resident Handgun
      Ownership Report (BOF 4010A), along with a $19 fee, to the DOJ . Forms are
      available at licensed firearms dealers, the Department of Motor Vehicles or on-line
      at the DOJ website at http://oag .ca .gov/firearms/forms . (Pen . Code, § 27560 .)

  1. Indianapolis…Isn’t that where the mouthpiece of the self victimizing, anti civil rights, racist/misogynist Everytown lives?

  2. “Shrugging off looming legal concerns”… Or, in other words.
    Why should we care if it’s illegal and we get sued. It’s not our money and we have teams of lawyers the the public pays through taxes. And if we have to pay a fine? So what. It’s the publics money.

    • And that is why Colonists employed tarring and feathering. How long before we start doing the same?

    • Election year grandstanding and pandering for votes. The vote was along party lines. Every council-critter who voted in favor knew that the bill had zero chance of being approved and if by some miracle it was approved zero chance of surviving in the courts, but now they can crow to their constituents “I tried!” and expect their urban low-information voters to nod their heads and pull the lever for a Democrat again.

      We are going to see a whole lot of this propaganda crap in the next 11 months all aimed at election mailer photo ops and anti-gun attack ads targeting their opponents.

  3. I can’t say why Ohio is on the list, but yeah, Michigan’s a police state when it comes to handguns and registration.

    The good news is that Michigan, which has one of shortest reporting periods (five days after discovery), only requires the reporting of thefts. So in theory you’re OK under the reporting law if you believe it to have been simply lost or misplaced.

  4. I’m not sure why these laws exist. If some asshat runs off with ANY of my property, I’m calling the cops anyway.

    • Right? If my gun was stolen, why wouldn’t I report it? Might as well get some benefit from the money we pay for the cops.

      Only thing I could think of was that one wanted to hide gross negligence and the shame that goes with it.

      • My understanding of this type of law is that (in theory) it prevents straw buyers from claiming that “…they didn’t sell that pistol to anyone; it was stolen!”. Once the law is in place, the cops can now prosecute them for failing to report a stolen pistol (once again, in theory; in practice, it’s probably plea-bargained/dropped altogether, like most of the other straw purchase violations).

        I agree with the folks that say this is unworkable and unnecessary for normal gun owners. And I’d REALLY like to see some kind of PERSONAL sanction/fine for any/all council member(s) that knowingly votes for any regulation/ordinance that is clearly in violation of state law.

        • Reporting requirements do nothing to stop straw purchases or transfers to “prohibited” people. How can I report a stolen firearm if I do not know that it is stolen?

          If Deputy Dog shows up to your house and demands to see your firearm, tell them to go pound sand and come back with a search warrant. If they return with said warrant, lead them to the last known location of your firearm. If it isn’t there, then report it lost or stolen.

    • The law exists to prosecute otherwise law abiding gun owners. Now the authorities will be able to charge a gun owner as an accessory.

    • I’m with you King. I keep a file of all my serial numbers, whether purchased from FFL or private. If I was ever robbed, I’d want the cops to know I did own Serial# xxx, but it was stolen last night, etc. If it ever shows up at a crime scene, I’m covered. I’m not getting the outrage over this? I DO get the overriding the preemption piece. Can anyone explain? Maybe the outrage is the compelling all to act as I would?

      • Not everyone keeps track of their SNs, and if the gun is back in a closet or drawer, they may not notice it was stolen for some time. If you report as missing, “Some time in the last year,” then you could get accused of being an accessory. Or, suppose a crime is committed before you notice it’s gone?

        Then of course, if allows for the victim to be harassed for “putting a gun on the street.”

  5. Point #2 above is a little bit short sighted, this law is written so that it is perfectly enforceable 5… 10… 15 years down the road (or hopefully never) when UBCs have been passed and registration implemented. They are just trying to lay the groundwork. No more “boating accidents” for people in Indy. Next on the list “I sold it to a friend” once they close that, then they pass registration, game set match. Be vigilant folks.

  6. I never understood the argument about reporting a this type of theft. I would report it, most of my stuff is insured and would want to take advantage of it.

  7. How about a new law that says when cities like this pass illegal laws, they’re charged as criminals instead of not even being personally liable for the crimes they commit?

    • Before you advocate committing a felony (possession of a firearm with a obliterated/destroyed serial number is a felony), you might want to research just how easy it is for forensic folks to resurrect that damaged number, as well as the number of manufacturers that are adding “hidden” serial numbers at the request of Law Enforcement.

      18 US Code
      § 922(k) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to transport, ship, or receive, in interstate or foreign commerce, any firearm which has had the importer’s or manufacturer’s serial number removed, obliterated, or altered, or to possess or receive any firearm which has had the importer’s or manufacturer’s serial number removed, obliterated, or altered and has, at any time, been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

      (note “possess”)

      • “you might want to research just how easy it is for forensic folks to resurrect that damaged number,”

        Not if you do it correctly.

        Doing it right requires drilling out *all* the metal behind the stamped number, as in a hole that goes completely through so that you can see the light on the other side.

        As you have noted, that won’t help if there is another number hidden, like the automakers use.

        But you most certainly can obliterate a serial number stamped or rolled in metal.

        • Not always possible; Glocks, for instance, have the serial number stamped in three different places, and drilling-out the number in two of them would reduce the weapon to scrap metal (the slide and barrel/chamber area).

          And then you’d STILL get charged for merely possessing a gun with the serial number obliterated, as I said above. There’s no “right” way to do this; you get charged and/or convicted either way. It might make the difference between one felony and two, but even one felony means you lose your gun rights, so it should be little comfort to an otherwise responsible gun owner.

          You can’t carry a gun with the serial number removed; if you ever had to use it in self-defense, you’d get locked up no matter what the defensive circumstances were. You can’t transport it in a vehicle; a simple traffic stop might reveal the modified firearm and get you locked up. You can’t shoot it at a public range, or show it to any other person who might ever mention it (even while drunk/stoned, or be compelled to mention it to the cops if they ever got their own tail in a crack). If you ever DID have to use it to defend yourself, the felony-in-mere-possession aspect might even taint your otherwise righteous defensive use (I think a good trial lawyer could have a field day with this).

          So yeah, you could do it and maybe even get away with it, if you never took it out of your house and never used it for anything that might reveal its presence. Doesn’t sound like much of a Win, to me.

        • Even an unsuccessful attempt can get you charged under this law (see the word “altered” in the statute wording shown above). This also covers adding letters/numbers or changing original ones to other letters/numbers.

    • That’s if you are law abiding. When there is a registry, I would hope that every person here would no longer be law abiding.

  8. While many of us would report the theft anyway, what place does the state have in telling us what we MUST do? It should be opposed on that principle alone. I wear seat belts because it makes sense, not because they are forcing me. We shouldn’t concede that the sensibility of doing something we would do anyway green lights yet another law. Be careful.

  9. Gee I used to sell insurance…why wouldn’t I report the theft of my(legal) gun? Cover my azz comes to mind. And this has NO chance of passing-political Indiana theatre…I do agree about not mandating this BS. In Illinois we are supposed to keep all buy/sell records for 10 years too. The same length of the BS FOID card.

    • “why wouldn’t I report the theft of my(legal) gun?”

      Perhaps you bought it from an individual for cash a number of years back who has since died.

      You know it isn’t hot, as you had known him your whole life.

      A gun that you know isn’t stolen can be a very valuable asset when confiscation starts.

      Speaking *cough*, hypothetically only, *cough*…

      • There you go making sense Geoff…I have done that with my own brother. Illinois made that a crime a few years ago-in exchange for CC and expanded rights. AS far as confiscation goes-train for head shots…

  10. Truly I am missing something here. I was robbed of a firearm and as soon as I realized it I couldn’t call the police fast enough. If you don’t establish the theft and a crime is traced to the gun if recovered aren’t you kind of asking for problems? I’m not saying there should be a law, but what is your liability if you do report the loss of custody?

    • Well, there is a movement afloat to make it a crime to have your gun stolen, obviously you did not secure it as required by the Commissar, vee most chute you! Some nice name like a safe storage act or whatever. Personally, I am not about to report a theft to the cops for about a zillion reasons, first among them that whether I own firearms or not is none of the police’s business. Even if the cops find your gun, you will never get it back, why bother? If it can get you an insurance payment, make your own choices. Thinking that you are responsible for that gun forever is just bull.

  11. Uh… but don’t most people call the cops when they get robbed or burglarized? And isn’t calling the cops and giving them a rundown of your stolen property technically informing the government? Or am I missing something here?

    *shakes head*

    Whatever. Luckily, all of my firearms were lost in a tragic kayaking mishap when I was attacked by Bigfoot. Fortunately, I live in the civilized state of Oklahoma, which isn’t on that list, and wasn’t required to report to anyone.

  12. For those talking about being persecuted, it is only punishable by a $50 fine. BTW: I live in indy and oppose the law.

  13. Assuming it survives a veto by the mayor, Indiana has a statewide preemption law that was passed a few years ago.
    I’d be surprised if this law lasts very long.

  14. People here are not even bringing up what about people who go on vacation, especially for long periods of time? Not everyone has neighbors to watch their house when gone or might not notice when a burglar comes by and takes your guns. You come home later, report it stolen, then you are fined because it was reported outside the window of leniency to report it stolen. That is screwed up there in its own right.

    • One question I’d have is whether it is a fifty dollar fine or fifty per firearm. Considering the number of guns the average gun owner in central Indiana has, that would be a pretty important question.

  15. Indiana passed a strict gun preemption law in 2011. It’s unlikely that this ordinance will pass legal muster. I suspect the law will be vetoed.
    Good for us and that is the way it should be.

  16. [q]~ the City-County Council on Monday approved an ordinance requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department or pay a fine. ~[/q]
    I’m thinking civil disobedience, use their system against them and over load their system… can’t remember where you put one of your weapons “call them”…an hour later you found it “call them” forgot you loaned one to your dad “call them” an hour later you recall that you did “call them” [you see where I’m going with this X every gun owner in the “zone” and this becomes unenforceable PDQ]

  17. It depends on how the safe storage law is worded. If its merely a bar to civil liability if the firearm is stored in a locked container I think its a great idea. Likewise, if a firearm is reported stolen, it should raise the bar on legal liability. In either case, it should be a positive not a negative thing.

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