Owner of lost pistol wants license back

Gun owner was unable to tell judge when she last saw the pistol.


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.”


  1. I’m sorry but I don’t believe that someone who is not responsible enough to keep track of her weapons should be allowed to have a license to carry.

  2. Tobin needs to claim the authorities of “The Tisbury PD Defence”, that precedent setting case, where you can “lose” a gun, with zero legal consequences.

  3. Massachusetts has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and one of those laws is knowing where the hell your pistol is at all times. On top of that, it took 9 days to report it missing. Sorry Catherine, you made the one of the biggest blunder a gun owner can make.

    • Maybe she was being very diligent searching every corner and combing throughout a second and third time to be sure……….rather than press the alarm bell too early.
      Ever think of that Mr Simonin ?

      • Brought a pistol to the Black Dog. I’m guessing you get better service if you’re packing heat. Felt “rashy” at a friend’s home so she lightened her load. The rest is a bit of a blur….let’s be grateful a passing child didn’t find the weapon and mistake it for a toy ! Diligence after the fact is no excuse when a tragedy occurs. This is highly irresponsible behavior. Not what you’d hope for from a competent gun owner. Ever think of that Mr. ?

  4. I am surprised an Island so liberal even has any guns at all. Other than the rich residents security details.

    • You’d be surprised Lawrence. There are a lot of hunters on this island who just don’t own shotguns, rifles and bows. Most that I know have caches of different handguns. Hunters are hunters with no political or bank account distinctions.

    • 2nd amendment. just go to 1 of the towns police and fill out paperwork. I personally know at least 250 to 300 people on Island with hand gun permits that have nothing to do with law enforcement. it’s our right

      • When your ability to provide for the defense of your person and property under the 2nd Amendment is determined by your town’s Chief of Police, and their determination of your ‘suitability’, then self-defense with a firearm is NOT a Right, but a PRIVILEGE, granted (or not) by an unelected agent serving elite interests, not the People, nor the Constitution these tin-pot tyrants (falsely) swear an oath to uphold.

        I’ve read and reread the 2nd Amendment, and I just can’t find the part that allows the exercise of this important right IF some local-yokel dink says it’s OK.

        Why do US citizens in Massachusetts have fewer, lesser ‘Rights’ than our countrymen in other states?

  5. Why isn’t the NRA coming to this poor woman”s defense?
    What is the Island Gun Community doing to support her?
    Is there a Go Fund Me Page?
    Where is the outage, the protest, the storming of the Court House, the American flags cut up into clothing.

  6. I tried a moment ago to post the following comment -I have known Cathy Tobin for decades and know that she is a solid good citizen of the island-Very conciencious about having a gun-!!!!

    • Actions are always speak louder than friends saying, “he was such a good boy I really can’t believe he shot all those people”.

    • The question isn’t if she is a good citizen which she may be, it’s whether she is a responsible gun owner which she doesn’t seem to be

    • She may be very conciencious about owning a gun, but she doesn’t appear to be to conciencious about where she leaves it.

  7. Anyone who loses a firearm is irresponsible and puts us all at risk. I wouldn’t let this lady carry a squirt gun.

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