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President’s Column | Latest Anti-Gunner Tactic: Blame Law-Abiding Gun Owners In Theft

President’s Column | Latest Anti-Gunner Tactic: Blame Law-Abiding Gun Owners In Theft

Photo credit: Michael Ives

“… [M]ost illegal guns are simply legal guns that have been stolen or sold secondhand. Since the supply source for the illegal market is legal owners, imposing greater accountability on legal owners will cut down the flow to the illegal market.”  
—Rebecca Peters

That definition of gun control—from the woman who fanned the fires for the 1996 confiscation and destruction of 700,000 registered shotguns and rifles from law-abiding licensed owners in Australia—is now creeping into the Newspeak of journalists in our nation under the notion of “stolen guns.” 

A ranting blogger who deserves to remain anonymous nailed it: “The legal, responsible gun owner is mainly responsible for arming up the gangs of America.” As crazy as this sounds, this new “big lie” is gaining traction in the mainstream media. “Stolen guns” is becoming a guilt trip applied to peaceable gun owners.

Numerous news stories tell the tale: All of this media focus on “stolen guns” is part of a big push for state and federal provisions making it a criminal act to fail to report theft or loss of a firearm.

A Chattanooga Times Free Press piece—“ATF study: Criminals use stolen guns”—claims, “The majority of guns used by inner-city gang members in Chattanooga come from burglaries and car break-ins in surrounding counties.” 

Another—“Spike in firearm thefts putting guns in hands of criminals”—from KOMO-TV News in Seattle, reported that “more guns than ever are being stolen from homes, business and vehicles, putting firearms directly in the hands of criminals. And law-enforcement officials say it’s up to gun owners to stop that.” 

An Aug. 26, 2015, story from Georgia’s WTOC-TV—“90 percent of violent crimes in Savannah involve stolen guns”—proclaims, “Police say the single greatest contributor to violent crime in Savannah includes everyone that owns a gun. … [w]hen one of those guns gets stolen, chances are it will be used to commit a violent crime somewhere in the city.” 

Perhaps the most cogent example of this new theme was “Legal guns fuel criminal gunfire,” published in September in the Raleigh, N.C., News & Observer

Writer Ned Barnett begins, “Guns have blazed a bloody path through the news in recent weeks. …  

“For many gun rights supporters the answer to such mayhem is more guns. … 

“Their line is that if guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns. But an Associated Press story that ran the day before the shooting on live TV raised a starkly different point. It said most guns used in crimes are stolen, but not from gun shops or pawn shops. They’re stolen from homes and cars.” 

Barnett blustered, “The growing number of law-abiding Americans who feel compelled to arm themselves is feeding the flow to criminals. Perhaps the phrase should be revised: ‘If guns are outlawed, outlaws would have a harder time finding and affording guns.’” 

He cites as proof, “In Chicago, where gun violence is epidemic, authorities this year have seized close to 4,700 guns—nearly all of them stolen.” 

The only pro-gun-rights source quoted in his story says the blame lies not with victims of theft, but with the people who break into cars and then are put back on the street.

Barnett’s retort is jaw-dropping: 

“Long prison sentences for breaking into a car would be expensive and unfair, especially because there’s no serious penalty for someone who leaves their Glock in the glove compartment and it gets into a criminal’s hands.” 

Then he lays down another head-spinner: “The truth is more people legally arming themselves doesn’t make us safer. It just provides more guns for criminals.” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., in line to lead his party in the Senate, has introduced legislation making failure to report a lost or stolen gun within 24 hours a federal felony punishable by five years in a federal prison.

Claiming that “Gun owners are aware that the legal purchase of guns is the headwaters in the river of guns that flows to criminals,” Barnett proposes “having gun owners be held responsible for their guns.”

There is that gun-ban buzz word again, “responsibility.” Criminals—not the victims—are responsible for crime. 

All of this media focus on “stolen guns” is part of a big push for state and federal provisions making it a criminal act to fail to report theft or loss of a firearm. There are now eight states that have made failure to report a gun theft a crime. Along with this insanity, the state of California recently “reformed” its criminal statutes to reduce theft of a firearm to a misdemeanor.

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., in line to lead his party in the Senate, has introduced legislation making failure to report a lost or stolen gun within 24 hours a federal felony punishable by five years in a federal prison. This from someone who ignores the truth and lies about federal laws dealing with armed criminals. 

Schumer is one of the prime reasons that the coming 2016 elections are critical. If he ever becomes Senate majority leader, the gun-ban crowd’s biggest champion will be in the ultimate seat of power.

If that happens, if we lose our Second Amendment majority, gun owners will pay a heavy price. 

Use Your Power!

Contact your senator and ask them not to punish law-abiding gun owners who are the victims of theft. You can call (202) 224-3121, or use NRA-ILA’s “Write Your Lawmakers” tool here.