A new initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in Washington, D.C., and in Colorado has won the backing of the National Rifle Association, but a new study from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has found that some gun owners in those states are not complying with the law.
The study, released Tuesday, found that in the states of Oregon, New Mexico, and Colorado, “more than half of gun owners reported a failure to report a firearm” to the police.
“Gun owners who do not comply with the reporting requirements have reported that they have been denied their Second Amendment rights, had their firearms confiscated, or were otherwise targeted for removal from their homes,” the study reads.
It goes on to say that gun owners who are not reporting a firearm are not “receiving a fair hearing from police or the courts.”
“Even though some states have strict reporting requirements, a significant proportion of gun owner respondents reported they have had their guns confiscated, were denied their rights, or been otherwise targeted,” the report reads.
“The vast majority of gun-owning gun owners did not report a weapon had been confiscated, reported having their firearms seized, or reported having a firearm confiscated by police.”
The study also found that “gun owners in Colorado reported that gun confiscation was often not reported to the authorities.”
“Gun owner respondents in the three states with the highest rates of gun confiscations said they were not notified of the confiscation of firearms by the police, and had their weapons seized when they tried to return to their homes, despite having a valid permit to possess a firearm,” the ACLU said in a statement.
“In all three states, gun owners are not receiving adequate notification of their rights to possess firearms and are denied their right to due process, due process that is guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution,” the organization added.
“Gun owners have been told that they must comply with an arbitrary, arbitrary law, which is why we continue to urge Congress to pass comprehensive gun control legislation.”
The National Rifle Conference has been quick to condemn the study, which it calls “an embarrassment for gun owners across America.”
“The NRA’s analysis ignores the vast majority who own guns who do report confiscations, who are often denied their constitutional rights, who face threats to their safety and the safety of their families, and who do seek help from the police when they are unable to comply with a law that is not being enforced,” NRA executive vice president David Keene said in the statement.
“These laws have had no discernible effect on gun violence and no meaningful impact on crime.”
A similar study from Washington, DC-based law firm Morrison & Foerster also found some gun ownership was not being reported in those two states.
“The majority of respondents to our survey who reported gun ownership did not know that their gun ownership could lead to a firearm being seized by the local law enforcement,” the firm’s president, Michael Baker, said in an emailed statement.