Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Lost or stolen handguns, a letter I am writing. Feedback requested.

    I know that this issue may somewhat be at rest now sense the bill was defeated, but after watching the debate on PCN tonight. I noticed that it was brought up quite often. I also plan on writing a few other letters about the SKS and other issues but I would like some feedback if possible. Maybe even a proofread (I am no writer and my grammar flat out is terrible). I realize this is long but I did not know a shorter way to convey what I wanted. And where should I start the list of who to receive it. If its worth sending at all. Any help will be appreciated.

    Concerning Lost or stolen hand guns.


    To whom this may concern.


    Let me start out by saying that being a gun owner carries responsibilities, as does everything in life. We learn at a very young age that life carries certain responsibilities. When we have families we learn very quickly that a family carries tremendous amounts of responsibilities. Law abiding citizens accept the responsibilities day in and day out. We strive for the best in life and to provide the best of everything for our families. I must than agree that reporting lost and or stolen firearms is a responsibility, and every gun owner will agree with that. Every gun owner that I have ever encountered would report any lost or stolen firearm as soon as humanly possible from the time that they realized it was stolen or lost. Just like many say we would report our cars lost or stolen. We have a reasonable expectation that we would be believed if a firearm that was stolen from us was used in a crime, that we would be held blameless because we obviously where the victim of the theft.

    Now let me enlighten you with the way the world really works. Being human means to be imperfect, police day in and day out have to make very hard decisions. They put there life on the line every time they make a traffic stop, every time that they walk into a convenience store. But they are still human, and still imperfect. So let me pose a scenario. Lets for example us myself, Lets say that I have a large collection of firearms. I enjoy firearms, and I find joy in the hobby of shooting firearms like the SKS and handguns like your dreaded FN Five Seven. I have a room in my house dedicated to store these firearms and this is also where I clean them. The room is very secure, when I built the room I lined the walls with 1/4 steel and have a steal safe door. Now I have many firearms, and I don't always shoot some and I wont always see all of my firearms for weeks at a time. Now the only people that have access to this room is myself, my wife, and my house keeper who once a week goes in and dusts and sweeps the floors.

    Now lets say that one day while I am at the office the house keeper's boyfriend without my knowledge stops by to see his girl friend (my house keeper). He only stops by to say high and drop off her lunch which she forgot to bring with her. When he gets there he just walks in the house, at this time she is cleaning my gun room which is normally locked and secured. He finds her in there and talks to her for a moment and tells her that he left her lunch bag on the counter in the kitchen. As she turns around to leave he spots one of my handguns that is sitting on my table, she turns her back to him to leave and as she does this. He grabs the handgun and hides it in his back waist band. Say's good by and leaves.

    Now a week later the gun is used in a robbery and the criminal shoots and kills a police officer. It turns out that the man that took it from my safe room sold it on the street. But there is no record of that. The man that used the gun is being interrogated is being asked who sold him the gun. Now the criminal just say's he doesn’t remember a name just that it was the previous owner. So the police run the serial number on the gun. And now my name is in the mix.

    The police get my address and come to my door with a search warrant. They ask about a specific handgun and ask if I own one and they would like to see it. I of course being the responsible citizen tell them that I do in fact own one and that it is down stairs in my gun room locked up securely. They persist that they want to see it and show me the warrant. At this point I bring them downstairs in my home and open my gun room. Now I usually keep it in cabinet with my other handguns but its not there. I frantically look but I cant find it. I don't actually remember the last time I saw the gun but it must have been weeks ago but I cant remember exactly when. I remember shooting it a few weeks back and putting it back in my room with all of my other guns that I love to collect. And I must have placed it either on my cleaning table or cleaned it and put it back in the cabinet. I had no Idea that it had been removed from this room.

    Now my question to you is, Can you GAURANTEE me that I will not have to go to court to prove my innocence. That my complete untainted record as a law abiding citizen will remain untainted and that the officers responding to this will not arrest me? No of course you cant. Because being human means to be imperfect and you can not say if a police officer, a prosecuting attorney, or a judge will believe that I had no idea that the handgun was not stolen. But still I did nothing wrong according to that law, I would not have been required to report it stolen or lost until I noticed it was lost or stolen. But before I discovered that the handgun was lost or stolen it was used in a horrific crime of armed robbery and murder.

    Now you might say that these sort of things don't happen often, yet things like this happen all the time. And something like this happened to me a few years back. It was not related to firearms but it still is very close.

    A few years back I was going through a separation, which inevitably ended in divorce. At the time my wife was in charge of taking care of the bills. Yet she decided to cancel my insurance. She never told me that she did this, And because I had very little room and didn't use my vehicle all that often, a friend of mine offered to let me keep it at his house. So I did, one evening he asked me if he could use the vehicle and I said that it was ok if he did. While he was out he was pulled over, apparently the police officer ran the tags and they came back suspended, and that the insurance was cancelled. The vehicle was towed. My friend at the time of the stop didn't have a license (which I he told me that he did). So instead of giving his information he gave mine. The police officer issued him a ticket of driving with suspended registration and no insurance. He never told me that he used my information and paid the ticket that next week. I had no idea what he had done. The vehicle was impounded and I had to sell it to my father and put it on his insurance to get it out of impound.

    Now my address was still at my old apartment in which my soon to be ex-wife was staying. Now some time later I was on my way home from work, and I get pulled over for having a headlight out. The police officer was very nice and I was very courteous to him. I gave him the registration insurance card and license. He took it back to his car, and a few minutes later came back. He told me that my license was suspended. I was floored, very calmly I asked him why, it was impossible. He said that it was suspended and that he is going to have to impound my vehicle. He asked me to step out of the vehicle which I did. He impounded the vehicle, confiscated my drivers license card, and issued me 2 tickets. One was driving under a suspended license, and possession of a invalid license. I never received a certified letter stating that my license was suspended, therefore I had no idea that it was under suspension. I could not plead guilty to these charges, PA law requires you to be notified when your suspension starts, and the officer must prove that I was aware that my license had been suspended. I met with the officer before that magistrate with my lawyer, the officer obviously did not have proof that I knew that my license was suspended and the magistrate threw out the case. But it did cost me a lot of money for a lawyer and to take time off work to attend and meet with my lawyer. Like a good law abiding citizen the original suspension that caused the later charges was for 3 months. My license was turned in and I did not EVER get behind the wheel of a vehicle until that suspension was up. But once it was up I got my license back. If I had plead guilty to the charges, I could have lost my license for 1 year mandatory. And that I could not go through, I had child support to pay and my job demanded that I kept my license. I was lucky that my boss at the time worked with me for the 3 months until I got my license back. But I still could have lost my job.

    Now you may say that every thing worked out in the end for me, which is true. It could have been a lot worse. But a charge against a law abiding citizen like my first scenario could ruin their life. They could be prosecuted not just at state level but at a federal level. Is law and order so important to you, that you would risk the destruction of the lives of law abiding citizens, and pass a law that will in no way be enforceable on the criminals that you intend them to be?

    But in all fairness I will offer you a compromise or a deal.. You GAURANTEE me and all citizens of this commonwealth, that NOT ONE good honest citizen will ever find themselves in court and pay thousands and thousands of dollars to prove their innocence because they where a victim of a theft. If you give me and every citizen that guarantee publicly. And that every single law abiding good honest citizen that is prosecuted or brought before the courts are reimbursed for every penny that they had to spend on counsel and every penny that they lost from work to attend court hearings or because they lost their job. You must personally take that pledge with your own money before I could even entertain the idea of supporting legislation that would require lost or stolen handguns. If you will not do this, and I know you wont. Than I will fight this type of legislation every step of the way. Laws should not be judged on the good that they might do.. But on what they could destroy if they where used improperly.

    Signed

    Concerned Citizen.
    I know my last sentence is something along the lines of what Kim said at the end of the debate tonight, but I am not sure if it originated from him, or if it came from some place else. Thanks again!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Cherry Tree, Pennsylvania
    (Indiana County)
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    Default Re: Lost or stolen handguns, a letter I am writing. Feedback requested.

    First, use your computer's spelling and grammar checker. It will catch misspelled words, typographical errors, and grammatical errors. All it takes is one error and the recipient will make note of it in his/her mind and will make you appear less than what you intend. All of us occasionally misspell words or commit typographical errors.

    Second, shorten everything up. Too many words and you've lost the reader. Focus on the salient points. In other words, keep it short, sweet and to the point. All of us occasionally lose sight of the goal.

    You raise some valid points in your letter. Hammer them home.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Lost or stolen handguns, a letter I am writing. Feedback requested.

    Quote Originally Posted by Longshot View Post
    I know my last sentence is something along the lines of what Kim said at the end of the debate tonight, but I am not sure if it originated from him, or if it came from some place else. Thanks again!
    Statkowski makes excellent points, your story is a great one to use in person when talking with legislators.

    “You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered”. -- Lyndon B. Johnson
    Also why don't you add a few gems of inconvenient truths in your letter, from this link.

    http://acslpa.org/n-legislative/pa_firearms_laws.htm

    here is a specfic article addressing Theft of Firearms-Sentence Enhancement Legislation

    http://acslpa.org/n-legislative/thef...egislation.htm

    From the documentation you will see how often they don't prosecute straw purchaser or the charge is simple plea bargained away.

    Which is the real crime, outside of the legislators control.

    Also plenty of other legislation in harrisburg posted on this link to make your mad or help make some of your points that we don't have a gun control problem, we have a criminal control problem in PA.
    http://acslpa.org/n-legislative/pa_p...egislation.htm

    Also I was told stupid as this is, the same lost and stolen (HB 29 reworked) amendment that lost twice in the house judiciary committee and in a full house vote was going to be attached in the senate again on HB 1845, some people are just incorrigible and never accept NO.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    In a hole, Pennsylvania
    (Monroe County)
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    Default Re: Lost or stolen handguns, a letter I am writing. Feedback requested.

    Great points, thanks to the both of you. After letting it lay for a day, I can see a bunch of places in which I can shorten it up.

    That Lyndon B. Johnson quote is exactly what I was looking for at the end. Going to use some more too. Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    (Susquehanna County)
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    Default Re: Lost or stolen handguns, a letter I am writing. Feedback requested.

    Hey Longshot your basic idea is terrific and your example of an employee's boyfriend stealing is not that far-fetched. In fact a few years ago a series of burglaries in New York City were committed by the boy friends of NYC visiting nurses.

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