THE BOTTOM LINE: If a person discovers that his or her firearm has been lost or stolen, he or she should report it missing to the police within a reasonable period of time. Lost or stolen reporting is a reform designed to crack down on the major sources of crime guns: loss, theft, and straw purchasers – people who buy guns and then sell them illegally to people who can’t buy them on their own. It’s common sense, and — even more importantly — police tell us this policy works.
HB 832, which was introduced by Rep. Madeleine Dean and referred to Judiciary on March 13, 2017, would impose a statewide lost or stolen reporting requirement. In the past few years, forty-nine towns and municipalities have taken steps to either mandate lost or stolen reporting or ask Harrisburg to enact a statewide requirement. This is a legitimate, commonsense law enforcement tool. However, after adding extra days to the legislative session in October of 2014, our legislature passed (and our then-governor Tom Corbett signed) Act 192, a law that penalizes any town–by allowing for the first time ever any citizen of Pennsylvania and any special-interest group to which they belong to sue any town–that has passed not only “lost or stolen” laws but any gun law that is different than those that the state legislature has passed. Although Act 192 was struck down by our state courts once and for all in 2016, our legislature is at it again and working to pass an identical bill that will allow Pennsylvania citizens to sue into submission all towns that have passed their own lost or stolen reporting laws.
HB 1020, Pennsylvania Reporting Bill
Enact a statewide lost or stolen reporting requirement
Ask your legislator to support HB 1020!
THE FACTS: Most people in Pennsylvania already think that it’s the law to report missing firearms. But in fact there is no statewide lost or stolen reporting requirement, even though statistics show that more crime guns come from states without lost or stolen reporting requirements.
Most guns used in crimes were once bought legally, and then through loss, theft, or improper transfer, made their way into the hands of criminals. By requiring missing firearms to be reported, police can begin looking for a lost or stolen gun before it winds up at the scene of a crime. In addition, if a gun that was already reported as lost or stolen is later used in a crime, the police do not need to waste valuable time questioning the original owner about the whereabouts of his gun. Finally, when police repeatedly trace crime guns back to an owner who claims each gun was “lost” but never reported, police may be able to flag a potential trafficker or straw purchaser.
STAND WITH US:
Ask your legislator to co-sponsor and support HB 832, which would enact a statewide lost or stolen reporting requirement.