Last week bill H.B. 388 went up for a vote at the state house. The bill protects the owner of a fire arm taken from that persons control or premises without their permission if it is later used in a crime.
Seems straight forward. Some discussion on it can be found HERE asking the reasonable questions that if someone were to steal your truck and use it in a crime should you be held in any way responsible or if someone were to steal your baseball bat and used it in a crime should you be held responsible for that.
In the roll call vote taken, 166 Democrats and 1 Republican voted against this (Yeas vote was to kill the bill).
In the discussion to the article on the patch there were some Democrats who gave reasons they didn't support the bill. Jan Schmidt for instance states that she would have voted for it had the bill contained the text "if the weapon had been reported to the police as stolen" and others echoed similar feelings that the bill did not promote safe gun ownership. This of course relies on the fact the gun owner must know the gun was stolen in the first place. Someone who keeps a gun in their house for safety may not routinely check to see if its in the drawer or safe location they keep it in so if someone they allow into their house like a maid for instance, finds it and steals it they may not know until long after it had been used in crimes.
Another poster (Rick Watrous) writes that "It is so broadly written ... that someone could leave an arsenal of loaded weapons on their open front porch and not be liable if someone grabbed one and killed someone". In the summer time I often leave my axe laying in my yard while I head inside for a drink or a baseball bat laying out while my son and I take a break from playing. If someone takes them from my yard how is it any different then a gun if its used for a crime?
The discussion lead to a couple questions, one of which I posted on the patch but have not received any answers. I post them here in hopes that at least one of my Democratic readers will share with me their answers.
1) How is a gun any different from any other object you own if someone steals it from you and uses it in a crime (baseball bat, car etc)?
2) If a gun is stolen from my house and I wasn't aware of it being taken and that gun was later used in a crime yet never reported stolen, should I be held in any way responsible for the crime and if so what should the punishment be?
3) For those who don't even agree with Jan's suggested addition, if a gun is in my house and stored in a locked box but yet still stole and I report it stolen, and then that gun is later used in a crime should I be held in any way responsible and if so what punishment would fit this case?
4) Lastly, let's use Mr. Watrous' example. I'm cleaning a gun on my front porch. It's a hot day so I go inside for a drink leaving a pistol and loaded clip sitting on the table. Someone sees it, grabs it and runs off. Later they us it to hold up a store and shoot the clerk. Since this is the example Mr. Watrous warns us about with a gun owner leaving weapons on their front porch, what would be the punishment appropriate for the gun owner who's gun was stolen in this case?