Harry Reid's Gun Control: Lose Your Gun, Get 5 Years In Prison


You read that right. Under Harry Reid's sweeping gun control bill, S.649 – Safe Schools and Safe Communities Act of 2013, anyone who loses or misplaces their firearm are subject to prison time. In fact, one could face up to five years in prison for failure to report such a loss within 24 hours under this legislation. So when Senator John "RINO" McCain (R-AZ) says he doesn't understand
filibustering gun control, perhaps he has no idea why he is there in Washington in the first place.

According to Section 123 of the bill:

"It shall be unlawful for any person who lawfully possesses or owns a firearm that has been shipped or transported in, or has been possessed in or affecting, interstate or foreign commerce, to fail to report the theft or loss of the firearm, within 24 hours after the person discovers the theft or loss, to the Attorney General and to the appropriate local authorities."

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The Federal government has no constitutional authority in this area at all.

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David Addington writes:

The Supreme Court said in Bryan v. U.S. in 1994 that when a federal statute punishes someone for a crime committed "willfully," the federal government must prove at trial that the individual knew that his conduct was unlawful. However, the Court also said that, when the statute provides that the government must prove merely that the crime was committed "knowingly," the government does not have to prove that the individual knew that his or her conduct was unlawful. Thus, an individual who knew his or her gun was missing and did not report it to local authorities and the Attorney General in 24 hours would potentially face five years in prison.

It is not reasonable to send an individual to prison for up to five years for failing to tell local authorities and the federal government, within 24 hours, that his or her firearm is lost or was stolen, given that a reasonable person would never know that failure to make such a report, let alone within 24 hours, is a crime. Even someone who has the presence of mind to report promptly to local police or the sheriff's office that a firearm is missing would be highly unlikely to know that such a report to local authorities was not good enough and that he or she must tell the Attorney General of the United States, too.

It is one thing to assign a legal duty to a firearms owner to report missing firearms, but it is quite another thing to exercise the draconian power of the federal government to make failing in that duty a federal crime. It is doubly inappropriate to give someone prison time for failing to tell the Attorney General that his or her gun was missing, when no reasonable person would know that failing to make such a report within 24 hours was a federal crime.

Washington needs to have laws repealed, not introduced. This is just another attempt to criminalize law abiding people that may one day declare their weapons stolen to those who come to confiscate them. This will simply be a means to an end to provoke violence towards those who would seek to enforce unlawful laws on the citizenry.

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