U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “The Isabella Joy Thallas Act, a gun control measure requiring gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement within five days of realizing that they’re missing, goes into effect Tuesday,” Denver NBC affiliate KUSC 9News reports. “SB21-078 was signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis in April, and through an amendment, the bill was renamed as the “Isabella Joy Thallas Act” in honor of the woman who was murdered on June 10, 2020, while she and her boyfriend were walking their dog outside of their apartment in Denver’s Ballpark neighborhood.”
One glaring problem is there are still question about if the gun used in the murder, described by the media as a “high-powered semi-automatic rifle … AK-47-style rifle” was really lost or stolen. It belonged to Denver police sergeant Dan Politica, who only reported his gun “missing” after the murder. He subsequently resigned. And as Westword documented in May, the story gets even sketchier.
It turns out the accused murderer, who has entered “a not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity plea,” was “allegedly friends” with Politica. He has not been charged with stealing the gun. An attorney for the boyfriend says the firearm used “is illegal in Denver.”
Politica himself has some colorful marks on his record, including claiming he saw a gun in a police beating case where the city ended up paying the victim $975,000, being suspended “after he engaged in a drunken fight with a LoDo street performer,” and allegedly harassing and threatening a man on social media. He has lawyered up now and won’t say anything about the gun.
An ”Only One” loses track of an allegedly “illegal” firearm and the response by Colorado Democrats is to punish everyday citizens who had nothing to do with this mess by enacting a new and intrusive edict that will penalize them for failure to comply. But here’s the thing: If the “AK” really was “illegal,” it’s doubtful that reporting its loss or theft could be compelled.
In 1968’s Haynes v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled (properly, if you think about it) the Fifth Amendment ensures that those prohibited from possessing firearms may not be compelled to register them because that would be forced self-incrimination.
Following that principle, if the gun was illegal, requiring Sgt. Politica to report it would have required him to admit to possessing it. So why wouldn’t the same “self-incrimination” pass be applied for all the hard-core “prohibited person” criminals out there who “lose” guns (sometimes intentionally, when there’s no “No Questions Asked” gun “buyback” to fence them at) or have them stolen by their “colleagues”?
Besides, it’s not like they legally “own” them.
Still, don’t we want people reporting lost or stolen guns? That depends. I can see cases where, of course, you would want to, particularly to try to get your property back, to make sure you’re in the clear from later abuses, and as corroboration for insurance claims.
I can also see cases when doing so might work against gun owner interests, particularly if they are “I will not comply” advocates, like me, a self-admitted unindicted “gun criminal.” When I was living in California and they passed an edict requiring gun owners to register their “assault weapons,” I refused. Had that then been stolen afterward, I’d have had to think about confessing to my “crime” by reporting it (especially if later recovered). And that illustrates yet another way that having such infringements under the guise of “commonsense gun safety” can instead discourage compliance and contribute to further endangerment of the public.
Such an edict will stop no violence and save no lives, negating the core “promise” of the swindle. Per a Rand study on “Gun Policy in America“:
“We found no qualifying studies showing that lost or stolen firearm reporting requirements [increased/decreased] any of the eight outcomes we investigated.”
As usual, the only people who will see their liabilities and risks go up will be those who don’t target and victimize their fellow citizens.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.