DOVER – Gun owners would have to report missing or stolen weapons to police within a week under legislation that cleared the Senate Thursday.
On a 11-10 vote, lawmakers sent Senate Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry’s measure to the House for consideration. Under the bill, the seven-day clock on reporting the missing or stolen firearm would start running when a gun owner discovers the weapons are missing.
“A lot of the time a straw purchaser will legally buy a gun and sell it to a criminal,” Henry said. “But when that gun is used in a crime, the purchaser will sometimes say their weapon was stolen. It’s my hope this bill will attack that kind of behavior and that straw purchasers will rethink abusing their Second Amendment freedom.”
If it’s approved in its current form, a first offender would face misdemeanor charges and a maximum fine of $100, a second offense would have a maximum $250 fine and repeat offenders could face a felony charge.
“These are tough, but fair, penalties,” Henry said. “If someone makes an honest mistake, the penalty is designed to get their attention and, if they make a habit of failing to report, they would be subject to a felony conviction.”