Criminal Justice

Lawyer arrested for alleged failure to report stolen gun traced to later shooting

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Police have seized 19 firearms from a lawyer in Stamford, Connecticut, and charged him with an alleged failure to report the theft of six other guns.

Police think one of the stolen guns was used by a suspect who shot at a narcotics officer Tuesday, according to the Stamford Advocate and a press release.

The lawyer, 72-year-old Ridgely Whitmore Brown, was charged Wednesday under a new Connecticut law that makes it a felony to intentionally fail to report a lost or stolen firearm. He also was charged with six counts of reckless endangerment.

Brown told police that the guns disappeared last October when a woman he met at a strip club visited his home, according to an arrest affidavit cited by the Stamford Advocate. He didn’t report that the guns were missing until July 9, the day before one of the guns was allegedly used by the shooting suspect.

Under the law, he was required to report the missing guns within 72 hours.

When asked why he didn’t report the theft sooner, Brown told police that he was an attorney and he was conducting his own investigation, police say. Brown also told police that he was concerned about reporting the theft because he thinks the woman he was dating and her associates are gang members involved in other deaths, according to the arrest affidavit cited by the Stamford Advocate.

Eleven states and Washington, D.C., require gun owners to report the theft of firearms, although the Maryland law applies only to the loss or theft of handguns and assault weapons. Every state on that list except for Michigan also requires gun owners to report the loss of firearms. The reporting time varies by state. The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence has the list.

New Jersey requires reporting of lost and stolen firearms, and it also imposes civil liability for damages caused by stolen assault weapons that are used in crimes. Liability applies only when the gun owner fails to report the weapon stolen within 24 hours of discovering the theft, according to the Giffords Law Center.

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