Virginia: Oppose Lost or Stolen Reporting Requirements!
Lost or stolen reporting requirements re-victimize crime victims
Lost or stolen reporting requirements place a criminal or civil penalty on the failure of crime victims to report the theft of a firearm to law enforcement within a given timeframe.
In the aftermath of a burglary, victims are occupied with a host of concerns. The first and foremost concern is the physical safety and well-being of themselves and their loved ones. This could require coordinating a temporary place to stay or overseeing home repairs or improvements to home security. Victims must also arrange for the security of their remaining property. Victims will also be busy coordinating with law enforcement and the burdens of dealing with their insurance company. On top of these priorities, victims deal with the emotional trauma attendant to such an extreme violation of their property and privacy.
To place an additional burden and the threat of prosecution on crime victims in their moment of despair is the ruthless act of a callous state that exhibits no regard for the hardship victims face as they put their lives back together.
Lost or stolen reporting requirements are not effective
A 2018 survey of firearms studies conducted by the Rand Corporation found no research demonstrating lost or stolen reporting laws produce desirable outcomes.
Specifically, the think tank noted that "We found no qualifying studies showing that lost or stolen firearm reporting requirements decreased any of the eight outcomes we investigated." Those outcomes included, "Officer-Involved Shootings," "Mass Shootings," "Suicide," "Unintentional Injuries and Deaths," and "Violent Crime."
Criminals cannot be compelled to report lost or stolen firearms
Criminals prohibited under state or federal law from possessing firearms cannot constitutionally be subject to lost or stolen reporting requirements. In Haynes v. U.S., the U.S. Supreme Court determined that because an individual has a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, a prohibited person could not be compelled to register a firearm. Therefore, prohibited persons could not be compelled to comply with any lost or stolen reporting requirement, as that would be an admission that the person illegally owned a firearm.
There is already sufficient incentive to report lost or stolen firearms
It is not necessary to place penalties on the failure to report lost or stolen firearms, as victims are already incentivized to report thefts in order to facilitate the return of their firearms. The Federal Bureau of Investigation maintains a file of stolen firearms in the National Crime Information Center that is used to help owners recover stolen firearms.
Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.