SB257 by Rodney Ellis: Let’s Victimize the Victim Twice!

Sen. Ellis wants victims to automatically become criminals.  Charles L. Cotton

SB257 by Sen. Ellis leaves any thinking person scratching their head and wondering why on earth would he wants to victimize a person twice! According to this Bill, being the victim of a theft could well make you a criminal. If a firearm was stolen, the owner would have 48 hours to report the theft to a law enforcement agency and the time would begin to run when the gun owner knew or should have known that the firearm had been stolen.

It would be bad enough if SB257 started the 48 hour period from the point the innocent citizen learns of the theft, but adding the phrase “or should have known” means any gun owner could be arrested, charged with a crime, and a jury would have to decide if they “should have known” that a firearm had been stolen earlier than when they actually learned of the theft. That is unconscionable Senator Ellis. The same penalty would apply if the firearm was lost. What is a gun owner supposed to do, conduct an inventory every two days to avoid this draconian law?

Not only does Sen. Ellis want to penalize innocent victims, he wants to force the Texas Department of Public Safety to gather data on lost or stolen firearms, “analyze” that data (whatever that means) and write an undefined report that will be available to law enforcement agencies and political subdivisions to “the extent the analysis is reasonably necessary or useful to the agency or subdivision in carrying out duties imposed by law on the agency or subdivision.” Now that is about as clear as mud. Sen. Ellis would have the DPS collect data to conduct an unspecified analysis to write an undefined report and make it available to law enforcement agencies to use for who knows what. How does this man keep getting reelected?

Oh yes, it is also a crime if you find a lost firearm and forget to report the finding to your local police or sheriff department within 30 days of finding it. This applies even if you did not know it was lost in the first place! This is starting to sound like Abbott and Costello’s Who’s On First or a skit for Saturday Night Live.

The Bottom Line: SB257 would victimize the victim twice and places an unreasonable burden on the DPS to collect and analyze useless data to create a nebulous and even more useless report to be given to law enforcement agencies that do not want or need the vague and useless report. Yep, that sums up Sen. Ellis’ SB257.