Among the many controversial and unpopular provisions in Harry Reid’s gun control bill is one that could turn law-abiding citizens into felons for failing to report a lost or stolen firearm within 24 hours. Via Heritage:
Section 123 of the Reid bill adds a new provision to section 922 of title 18 of the U.S. Code:
“It shall be unlawful for any person who lawfully possesses or owns a firearm that has been shipped or transported in, or has been possessed in or affecting, interstate or foreign commerce, to fail to report the theft or loss of the firearm, within 24 hours after the person discovers the theft or loss, to the Attorney General and to the appropriate local authorities.”
And if you knowingly violate this provision, that penalty could turn into five years in prison, a criminal fine—or both. Heritage elaborates on what the word “knowingly” means in legalese:
The Supreme Court said in Bryan v. U.S. in 1994 that when a federal statute punishes someone for a crime committed “willfully,” the federal government must prove at trial that the individual knew that his conduct was unlawful. However, the Court also said that, when the statute provides that the government must prove merely that the crime was committed “knowingly,” the government does not have to prove that the individual knew that his or her conduct was unlawful. Thus, an individual who knew his or her gun was missing and did not report it to local authorities and the Attorney General in 24 hours would potentially face five years in prison.
If this bill passes, we’re in serious trouble.