As anticipated, on Wednesday, May 23 the State Senate amended a modified version of Senate Bill 903, "Lost or Stolen Firearms," into Senate Bill 938, and approved the bill on a vote of 24-11. As you may recall, SB 903, sponsored by Senator Martin Looney (D-11), which sought to criminalize the failure to alert authorities of the loss or theft of a firearm, was on the agenda for the Thursday, May 17 Public Safety and Security Committee meeting, but was not called for a vote, effectively killing the bill. Sources on the committee say that gun control advocates asked that the proposal, which would make it a crime to fail to report the loss or theft of a firearm to police within 72 hours of when you "discover or should have discovered" it missing, be pulled from the agenda due to a lack of votes.
According to the measure, when a law-abiding citizen does his civic duty in reporting the loss or theft of a handgun to police, he would immediately trigger an investigation into the whether he "should have discovered" the missing gun(s) and expose himself to criminal prosecution. Under this bill, which now applies only to handguns, police and prosecutors retain total discretion for what constitutes "should have discovered." The problems for law-abiding gun owners who run afoul of this proposed law would be compounded when multiple guns are stolen -- as they now could fit the definition of a gun trafficker according to the language in this bill! This measure now heads to the State House for consideration.
Please call your State Representative TODAY at (860) 240-0400 and urge him or her to OPPOSE SB 938. Let them know that there is no public safety value at stake and that this bill will only make criminals out of crime victims! Also politely let them know that they should not replicate Senate's lack of respect for the legislative process in circumventing the committee system and reviving a bill that lacked the support to make out of the Public Safety Committee.