While reporting a lost or stolen firearm may seem like the responsible or prudent action to take, given the current policies of several issuing authorities – including Philadelphia Police Commissioner Outlaw and Chester County Sheriff Maddox – reporting that you were the victim of crime will result in your license to carry firearms (“LTCF”) being revoked. Nothing like re-victimizing a victim of crime, eh?
As the Commonwealth Court recently acknowledged in City of Philadelphia v. Armstrong, 1204 C.D. 2020 – which struck down Philadelphia’s unlawful ordinance requiring an individual to report a lost or stolen firearm – there is no “provision in the Crimes Code or the UFA that mandates the reporting of a lost or stolen firearm to police officials.” Yet, most responsible gun owners, without a legal obligation to do such, report if a firearm is lost or stolen. However, given the recent actions of some issuing authorities, that may be inadvisable.
To understand why, one first has to understand the law and some issuing authorities’ unwritten policies.
Pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. 6106, in the absence of an LTCF, an individual is extremely limited in where he/she may transport a firearm to and even when permitted, requires that the individual go directly to and from that location. For example, if going to the range, the individual must go directly to and from the range. If he/she stops for a cup of coffee, to pick up a friend, or to use a bathroom, the individual has just violated the law, which is graded as a misdemeanor of the first degree. That means, pursuant to federal law, the individual will be barred for life from being able to purchase, possess or utilize any firearm or ammunition, unless he/she is able to obtain relief (expungement, pardon…etc).
While there are several challenges pending in the federal courts, where I am representing the plaintiffs as to the constitutionality of Section 6106 (and other provisions of the Uniform Firearms Act, including the state of emergency provision found in section 6107), which may result in the statute(s) being found to be unconstitutional, at the present time, the Pennsylvania State Police and local law enforcement are enforcing Sections 6106, 6107, and 6108. This means that to be exempt from the restrictions found in Sections 6106, 6107 and 6108, the individual must have an LTCF. Thus, as I advise everyone, if you are eligible for an LTCF, regardless of whether you want to carry a concealed firearm, obtain your LTCF.
So you’ve obtained your LTCF but now, you’re the victim of crime as your firearm is stolen, whether from your home, place of business, vehicle…etc and you, being the responsible gun owner, report the theft to the police. If you’re a resident of Philadelphia, I can guarantee you that Commissioner Outlaw will revoke your LTCF. If you’re merely in Philadelphia at the time you’re the victim of a crime but a resident of a different county, I can guarantee you that Commissioner Outlaw will have a letter sent your issuing authority requesting that your LTCF be revoked. Many pro-rights Sheriffs place such communications where they belong – right in the shredder (because all LTCF information is confidential and not subject to disclosure; thus, it cannot be placed into the trash). After all, if we want people to do the right thing by reporting a lost or stolen firearm, why would you retaliate against them – re-victimizing a victim of crime – by revoking their LTCF and subjecting them to the draconian provisions found in Sections 6106, 6107 and 6108? Yet, some issuing authorities, like Commissioner Outlaw and Chester Co Sheriff Maddox, will do just that.
If you’re left scratching your head and wondering how this could possibly benefit the public, you’re not alone. Could you imagine if a law was enacted that required a rape victim to report his/her rape within a certain period of time or face prosecution for their failure to report? I didn’t think so; yet, these policies place responsible gun owners in that almost exact position.
So what should you do? Well, that decision is up to you, but understand that if you report a lost or stolen firearm, depending on who your issuing authority is, you may end up having your LTCF revoked and if you don’t successfully challenge the revocation, you’ll be subjected to the draconian provisions found in Sections 6106, 6107 and 6108.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of a revocation of an LTCF or an unlawful municipal firearm or ammunition regulation or ordinance, contact FICG today to discuss your options.
Firearms Industry Consulting Group® (FICG®) is a registered trademark and division of Civil Rights Defense Firm, P.C., with rights and permissions granted to Prince Law Offices, P.C. to use in this article.