Right now in Hartford, lawmakers are considering legislation that will have gun owners shaking in their shoes! The anti-gun crowd has redoubled their efforts to pass last year’s proposal to make it a crime to fail to report the loss or theft of a firearm within 72 hours from when you “knew or should have known” of the theft.
This year’s version is outrageous! HB 5818 now includes language that would subject gun owners to criminal investigation and jeopardy of prosecution even if they report the theft, because a court will now be given the authority to decide whether the firearm was stored in such a manner that provided “substantial and unjustifiable risk” that it would be stolen. Even worse, if the police recover the firearm before the gun owner has discovered it missing and made a report, it will be considered automatic evidence of guilt of violation of this proposed law, as well as guilt of an illegal transfer. Conviction of the “illegal transfer,” which is a felony, would permanently end your right to own a firearm! If all of that isn't bad enough, this proposal actually helps the real bad guy -- the gun trafficker!
Supporters of HB 5818 claim they need this to become law because it would stop “straw purchasers,” or people with clean records that purchase firearms and hand them over to people who are prohibited from possessing a firearm, from falsely claiming the guns were stolen after they are detected and tracked down by police.
Under HB 5818, a “straw purchaser” would simply buy guns and call police to report them stolen within 72 hours of handing them over to the trafficker. The “straw purchaser,” who has probably made a nice buck for his trouble, has complied with this proposed law, indemnified himself against felony charges, and left the police with nowhere to go!
HB 5818 must be stopped! Call your lawmakers TODAY and strongly urge them to OPPOSE HB 5818! The phone number to the Connecticut General Assembly is (860) 240-0100. Also contact Governor Jodi Rell (R) at (860) 566-4840 to voice your strong opposition to this bill.
Governor Rell, who supports this legislation, should consider saving all the money the state would spend investigating and prosecuting law-abiding gun owners and use it to fund the state’s now defunct Anti-Trafficking Task Force, which was dedicated to catching real criminals. It’s just further proof that Rell, her Department of Public Safety and the anti-gun crowd aren’t serious about crime-fighting at all -- they just want to attack legal gun ownership.