A woman whose license to carry firearms was suspended after she belatedly reported a missing pistol to Edgartown Police appeared in Edgartown District Court Thursday to request her license be reinstated.
After hearing from Catherine Tobin, who reported the gun missing in the summer, and Edgartown Police Sgt. Joel DeRoche, Judge Benjamin Barnes took the suspension appeal under advisement. As The Times previously reported, Tobin allegedly had a .380 caliber Sig Sauer pistol holstered on her person while at he Black Dog Cafe on July 5, and found it uncomfortable. Later she allegedly went to an Edgartown home to help somebody move. Since the holstered pistol was causing a rash, she speculated she took it off at some point. At that point, it appears to have been lost.
Tobin told Judge Barnes she dismissed her attorney, and would be representing herself. Tobin admitted she lost the gun, “looked diligently for it,” and reported the missing gun to Edgartown Police. Tobin said she subsequently was told to hand in her firearms license. Tobin described herself as “a law-abiding citizen” who has had “extensive firearms training.” Tobin claimed she was “vilified” in a Martha’s Vineyard Times article about the loss of the gun. She went on to say the article stimulated calls of support from people she knew.
Judge Barnes asked her to keep her remarks relevant to the hearing.
“I feel as if I did the right thing by going to the police and reporting it,” Tobin said.
“Ms. Tobin, was the firearm ever located?” Judge Barnes asked.
“No, it was not,” Tobin said.
“It took you approximately how long before you noticed your firearm was missing?” Judge Barnes asked.
“I’m really not sure, your honor,” Tobin said. “I looked diligently.” Tobin went on to say, “I am not aware of the time frame involved. I am just not aware of that.”
Tobin said she was a frequent traveler, used several vehicles, and had “five safes.”
Judge Barnes asked when the last time was that Tobin saw the gun in question.
“I’m not really sure, sir,” Tobin said. Once she concluded it was missing, Tobin said she called her brother, who she described as a U.S. Attorney, for advice.
Judge Barnes repeated his question about the last time she saw the gun. Tobin was unable to say when.
Tobin closed her remarks by saying she respected both the court and the police.
Sgt. DeRoche had no questions for Tobin, and Tobin didn’t object to DeRoche reading from his police report, even though she claimed to not have seen it in its entirety.
Per his report, DeRoche said when Tobin’s firearms ownership was checked, “she had no firearms registered in her name.”
On July 14, after she made a brief report at the Edgartown Police Station to another officer, DeRoche said, he called Tobin.
DeRoche recounted her visit to the Black Dog Cafe and her trip to Edgartown to help someone move. He said she allegedly learned the pistol was missing on a drive after helping with the move.
“I asked Ms Tobin why she had delayed reporting the firearm missing some nine days,” DeRoche said. Tobin allegedly said her life was busy, but eventually decided to report the pistol missing on the advice of her brother.
DeRoche said the state law was “explicit” that a missing gun must be reported “forthwith.”
Shortly after telling Tobin that she needed to turn in her license and all guns and ammunition in her possession, DeRoche said he got a call from an attorney who said, “Tobin was prepared to report the firearm stolen.”
He added she allegedly had a hunch her friend’s tenant stole the gun.
Tobin had no questions for DeRoche.
“I would have to go on the fact that whatever he said is true,” Tobin said. “I do not remember …”
“Did you ever report the firearm stolen?” Judge Barnes asked.
“I did not, and I suggested to counsel that that not be mentioned,” Tobin said, “and I’m sorry that got into the report, because that caused an awful lot of negative implication with threats and things I’d rather not get into. I think it’s going off into a tangent, and a very negative one.”