The following is a video transcript.
Hi, this is Wilkes Ellsworth, your Independent Program Attorney in Ohio. I’d like to talk to you today about stolen firearms, what we should do in those circumstances, and documenting your firearms.
Secure Your Firearm
First off, we should always take precautions to properly secure our firearms and other weapons-related items so they do not fall into the wrong hands.
After all, these are expensive items. We want to protect our investment and make sure they don’t come into the possession of those who shouldn’t have them. What should we do if something happens and they’re lost or stolen? Well, not all states require notification. In fact, more do not than do.
But Ohio is one that does.
Loss and Theft
Ohio Revised Code § 2923.20(A)(5) states, “no person shall knowingly fail to report to law enforcement authorities forthwith the loss or theft of any firearm or dangerous ordnance in the person’s possession or under the person’s control.” It is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree if you fail to do so. Remember, it is loss and theft, and “forthwith” means immediately upon discovery.
Furthermore, Ohio Revised Code § 2923.19 mandates you must take reasonable precautions to properly secure dangerous ordnances to prevent them from being stolen and/or falling into the hands of an unauthorized or incompetent person. It is a misdemeanor of the second degree if you violate this requirement.
Documenting our firearms is also very important, especially since Ohio does not mandate registration of firearms. While this is good in the fact that we are not subjected to more government oversight, it does leave us without that information should we need it. Therefore, you should make sure to keep all records of your firearm purchases, document serial numbers, and it’s a good idea to photograph your guns. This will help with insurance claims and will help the police in their efforts to find your lost or stolen gun and hopefully get it back to you.
You can obviously keep paper records (maybe duplicate them) and keep them in a separate location. You can digitize them these days and keep them on your hard drive or use a cloud service. I know some people keep them in a gun safe with their firearms. There really are no hard and fast rules on this, but they should be treated like any other important document, such as estate planning documents, insurance documents, birth records, and medical records. They likely won’t take up much room at all and will readily be accessible when and if you need them.
Finally, remember, you can always contact U.S. LawShield and be put in touch with your Independent Program Attorney if you have any other further questions about these topics or any other.