According to the ATF, from 2017 to 2021, over one million guns were reported lost or stolen (keep in mind, these are just the ones reported).
The thing is, we all make mistakes. Even police officers, who carry guns daily can lose their firearms.
Deanna C. is a former police chief for San Luis Obispo, California.
One day, she visited a fast-food restaurant for lunch.
She went to the restroom, removed her gun from its holster, and placed the gun next to her while using the facilities.
Unfortunately, she left the establishment and forgot her duty weapon.
Within minutes, she realized what she had done but it was too late. When she returned to the restaurant the gun was gone.
The chief reviewed security footage from the restaurant and saw three people use the restroom after she did.
In a statement from the department the chief said, “My actions were irresponsible and dangerous, and I’m so grateful that, after our preliminary investigation, a child didn’t find the gun. I was complacent, and that’s something you can never be with a firearm.”
Turns out, a man named Skeeter M. found the gun left behind by the police chief. But he didn’t turn the weapon in right away.
That night, Skeeter’s brother-in-law called police and told them that they would be returning the firearm.
The two men met police at the station where they confirmed the gun belonged to the chief.
While being questioned by police, Skeeter admitted to finding the gun in the restroom, putting it in his pocket, and taking it home.
And while this mistake could have had deadly consequences, thankfully it didn’t.
Losing a firearm is scary because there are so many scenarios that can play out. The last thing you want is for a kid to find a lost gun.
So, here are a few things you should immediately do if you lose a firearm.
The first thing you should do if you lose a firearm is to obviously retrace your steps.
This might include going back to work or back to a restaurant. Whatever it takes, do it.
If you can retrieve the firearm before anyone else this is the best outcome.
So, do anything you can to get back to and check places where the firearm could have been lost and call friends or family to help, if you need it.
Losing a firearm can be awkward and embarrassing, but you need to just get over that.
The most important thing is to find the gun before a kid or criminal does.
Call the local police and explain what occurred.
If possible, provide them with the serial number and picture of the firearm.
Police will create a report for the firearm and will input the weapon into a national crime database.
This way, if the gun is turned into a police department they can get it back to the rightful owner.
Also, if the gun is used in a crime, you will have a record that you reported the weapon as lost or stolen.
If you lose a firearm and can’t find it after retracing your steps, don’t wait too long to report it.
Immediately notify the police that the weapon was lost.
Contact an attorney:
This is a situation where you might want their opinion, it’s totally up to you.
Federal law does not require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms, but some state laws do.
Some places require the gun to be reported within a specific time frame.
This is why you may need a lawyer.
You want to know about the specific laws in your state.
The bottom line is, if your gun is lost or stolen there is the potential it could be used to commit a crime.
So, if you ever lose a firearm, follow your state and local laws to improve the chances that the weapon is returned to you and that no one gets hurt.
Interestingly, there is a time when “losing” your firearm can be a good thing.
And that lost gun can actually keep the ATF away and secure your Second Amendment rights.
I know it seems counterintuitive, but it’s true.
However, it’s only in one specific incidence, and it must be handled the right way.