Trying to limit gun sales to criminals, the Los Angeles City Council voted yesterday to require that residents report the loss or theft of their guns to police within 48 hours, the Los Angeles Times reports. The ordinance, which goes into effect next month, requires anyone who had a gun stolen or lost in the last five years to report the loss. Residents who fail to report a loss of their weapon face a misdemeanor charge and up to one year in jail.
The California Pistol and Rifle Association, an affiliate of the National Rifle Association, said that the law “will frustrate police investigations.” The group said owners whose guns are recovered at crime scenes probably will refuse to cooperate with police because they may be prosecuted for not reporting their gun lost or stolen. The law intends to help prevent “kitchen” or “straw” sales of guns to criminals. In such sales a person legally buys the gun and sells it to someone who isn’t permitted to buy or own a firearm. If the gun is used in a crime, the original purchaser pleads ignorance, saying the gun was lost or stolen.