Proposal would require gun owners to report a stolen firearm or face a fine

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (August 12, 2015) – A new proposal being considered by the Indianapolis City-County Council would require gun owners to report a lost or stolen firearm. A committee passed the ordinance but it still has to go before the full council.

The language would require gun owners to file a report with IMPD within 48 hours. The committee added amendments to include a $50 fine for failing to report a stolen gun and an exception for anyone facing a hardship that would prevent them from filing a report.

“That’s the only way for us to know whether or not a gun has been stolen is if the owner reports it stolen, so it’s very important that if your gun is missing or if you think that your gun has been stolen that you report it to the police for us to do our process to get that gun entered into our stolen gun database,” said Lt. Richard Riddle with IMPD.

The proposal is sponsored by Democratic Councillor Kip Tew. He said he introduced the measure to help police combat the illegal gun trade.

Last year the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms recovered and traced 5,587 guns in Indiana. Police worry that stolen guns will end up in the wrong hands and end up being used to commit a crime.

“A number of times we do find that guns used in crimes were in fact previously stolen whether it be in Indianapolis, whether it be in neighborhoods surrounding Indianapolis or even out of state,” said Lt. Riddle.

Even though the proposal has yet to go before the full council, public opinions vary. The owner of Beech Grove Firearms, Greg Burge, said he is undecided but questions the need for an ordinance.

“What problem is it fixing, that’s what I would like the politicians to answer before I really got behind any new city ordinance,” said Burge.

Gun owner Merl Root doesn’t see it that way and said he supports the idea.

“Because there’s a lot of guns on the street that should not be on the street, a lot of people have guns that don’t need to have guns,” said Root.

Police encourage gun owners to keep a copy of their serial number in a safe location.

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