How long will the police keep my weapon?


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PinnedAndRecessed
July 24, 2006, 03:22 PM
On this thread:

http://sigforum.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/320601935/m/549105536

I learned that if I am carrying in public, and am forced to shoot somebody in self-defense, the police will impound my weapon.

I live in Oklahoma. If I am determined to be innocent of any wrongdoing, how long can I expect to lose my weapon?

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Baba Louie
July 24, 2006, 03:28 PM
I would say that it depends on that particular department's policy as well as any criminal trial/appeal process that might occur, in that your weapon is evidence that might be needed.

Or, to put it another way, until such time as everything is green-lighted and there is zero possibility of the DA's requirement for any such evidence that your firearm would provide for their use...

Vague, huh?

Have a backup or two somewhere.

pcf
July 24, 2006, 03:33 PM
There's too much variation from one political arena to the next, no one going to be able to honestly answer the question.

Some areas if the DA declines to press charges or you're no billed by a grandjury, you might have your firearm back the next day. Some areas won't return it no matter what and you'll have to sue for "compensation."

buzz_knox
July 24, 2006, 03:34 PM
It depends. Is this a "gun friendly" area? Has the DA or police chief stated that confiscated weapons are never returned? Is it a nice weapon and someone along the way has sticky fingers?

Good rule of thumb is to consider every carry weapon to be a one use item: use it for its intended purpose and never expect to see it again. If you do, you were lucky.

kel
July 24, 2006, 03:45 PM
It really depends where you are. One person on Sig forum had every gun he owned confiscated and they probably (been a year by now, he was never charged or tried) will never be given back to him. That was in PA. He didn't even shoot anyone, he brandished at a guy threatening him with a knife I believe.

buzz_knox
July 24, 2006, 03:49 PM
I believe he was charged with carrying without a permit. This was in Philadelphia which (illegally) doesn't recognize his valid PA permit.

cyanide
July 24, 2006, 03:50 PM
I live in Oklahoma. If I am determined to be innocent of any wrongdoing, how long can I expect to lose my weapon?

It isn't how long you need be concerned about, I have seen the treatment impounded weapons / evidence gets.

That should be your main concern, in fact if this ever happens to anyone they should give the "agency" involved a gun case and ask the weapon be stored inside of it.

gazpacho
July 24, 2006, 03:50 PM
If the confiscating PD doesn't care for CCW, expect to get the firearms back in really rough condition. It is also possible that they may loose your gun, or parts of it during investigative testing. They may store it up on the roof, tied to the building lightning rod, while they decide what to do with it.

Aggie's Revenge
July 24, 2006, 03:51 PM
Pinned,

That is a good question. Once you are cleared of any wrong doing you should get your weapon back in a timely manner. By timely I mean when you can set an appointment with the property custody clerk for the agency who impounded your weapon. Baring any previous felony convictions you should get your weapon by the end of the week.

Some departments might require you get some form of paperwork from the D.A.'s office allowing them to release the firearm. This might be the biggest hitch. The department cannont release evidence unless it is cleared by the D.A.

Just FYI I am a deputy in Oklahoma and this is the standards my department uses.

Byron Quick
July 24, 2006, 04:24 PM
Depends on both the local agency and the circumstances. Here in Waynesboro, I know a man who shot a robber around noon and was back at his business before 5PM...with his revolver.

The police investigators determined that he had legal justification and released both him and his weapon. If they had forwarded the case to the DA, the weapon would have been retained at least until the grand jury made a decision.

Augusta, Ga PD took mine as evidence in August, 1998. Got it back on 12/2/98 immediately after court. My property was in good shape after storage. They kept the ammunition in the firearms. Nothing was ever said about firearms not in my possession at the time of the incident.

Erebus
July 24, 2006, 05:05 PM
It could also be delayed at the will of the DA if the guy you shot ends up getting tried for something. It is evidence and you are a witness.

DMK
July 24, 2006, 05:11 PM
That is a good question. Once you are cleared of any wrong doing you should get your weapon back in a timely manner. By timely I mean when you can set an appointment with the property custody clerk for the agency who impounded your weapon. Baring any previous felony convictions you should get your weapon by the end of the week.

Well, I got my car stolen once. The police recovered it in a week (lucky me). The DA held it in impound and would not release it to me for about three months. Only after numerous calls and face to face visits did they release it to me grudgingly. Then the impound yard gave me the runaround for almost a week.

They will hold your property as long as they need, if they see it as evidence. Court cases can go for a very long time.

atlctyslkr
July 24, 2006, 07:56 PM
I've seen a couple posts on here about having to give up other firearms. What is that about? Guns locked up at my house are not evidence. I shoot an intruder lawfully and the police are going to take all my guns? So then the BG's buddies can come back and get me while the police decide if my actions were justified? Forget it.

steveno
July 24, 2006, 08:17 PM
I have heard that it might be a good reason not to carry your favorite and expensive handgun for the very reason you may not get it back for a long time or ever. the suggested gun to carry was a worn S & W M-10 so you don't have to worry about the care it isn't going to get when the police have it

gazpacho
July 24, 2006, 08:29 PM
My greatest suggestion on what NOT to carry is not carry anything that can't be replaced. For instance, that 1911 your grandfather carried when he stormed the beaches of Normandy would be a poor choice. I would have little quams givin up forever a $2000 superduper 1911 if it had done its job in defending myself and my family.

Big Gay Al
July 24, 2006, 08:33 PM
When I was working security in New Orleans last year, I met a lot of guys who were using Hi-Point pistols. When I asked one guy why, he said the following:

It's reliable, it's accurate, and if I have to shoot someone, I'd rather lose my $105.00 Hi-Point than my $650.00 Glock.

HankB
July 24, 2006, 09:15 PM
I've heard of some instances in which the police didn't take the gun for longer than it took them to do the "on the spot" investigation. And other instances where the gun was taken into evidence and "lost," never to be seen again.

As for LEOs going to a person's home and taking everything he has, especially if no charges are filed . . . unless the victim voluntarily hands them over, I find that improbable unless 1) they're all registered; AND 2) LEOs have a valid court order.

Jim K
July 24, 2006, 10:19 PM
Since it is a fair bet that anyone shooting or killing a person, even in clear-cut self-defense, will have his weapon confiscated until the case is cleared, it is not a good idea to carry a collectible or an expensive handgun. That way you don't cry too much when the cops make you drop the gun on the sidewalk.

(A while back I said much the same and got a rather nasty reply from a guy who carried a super custom pistol worth (he said) $3500. He ranted that no matter what some $*&%# cop said, he would never drop HIS gun and he would shoot it out with the police before allowing HIS gun to get a scratch on it. Some folks are either stupid or plain nuts. Maybe his heirs will get the gun back.)

Jim

kel
July 25, 2006, 10:58 AM
buzz_knox, thank you for the correction. This is the guy I was talking about. (http://sigforum.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/320601935/m/661108636?r=405109636#405109636) I definitely wouldn't invest a lot of money in a carry piece. Probably a Ruger auto or Revolver, mabye S&W if I get a good deal. Might carry a used beat to hell Sig if I could find one I liked.

Big Gay Al
July 25, 2006, 11:52 AM
IF I had a gun worth $3500.00, I'd sell it, buy a different gun for $600.00 or less, and have a party with the rest of the money. ;)

eastwood44mag
July 25, 2006, 02:22 PM
Around here, even if you aren't breaking any laws, you don't get your guns back until you get a court order to that effect. Even so, you may never get them back.

ArmedAmerican
July 25, 2006, 09:13 PM
New Orleans Begins Returning Seized Guns
by Dave Workman
Senior Editor

After more than seven months of waiting, New Orleans residents have been getting their firearms back as a result of legal pressure brought against the city by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and National Rifle Association (NRA).

“Hopefully, this marks the beginning of the end to a legal battle that we’ve been waging since last fall,” said Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder. “Our victory in court should send a clear signal that no mayor or police chief can suspend the Constitution on a whim, or seize private property, including firearms, from private citizens without due process.”

The gun returns began one day before the NRA held a Town Hall meeting in New Orleans that explored the gun seizures with local residents.

The gun returns are being done on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The first gun return was processed about 30 minutes after the property facility opened for business on April 17, as Gun Week spoke by telephone to an officer at the facility.

New Orleans was devastated by the hurricane and flooding last August that occurred when dikes broke that allowed water to flow into many of the city’s neighborhoods, which are below sea level. The disaster stretched into September, but within days of the storm, as chaos reigned and order broke down, then-Police Supt. Eddie Compass announced that all privately-held firearms would be seized and only police would be allowed to have guns.

That order was given with no legal authority, according to a successful federal lawsuit filed against the city and neighboring St. Tammany Parish by SAF and NRA. That lawsuit quickly brought a temporary restraining order against both jurisdictions, but not before gun rights activists nationwide were outraged by news footage of citizens being disarmed by police and National Guard troopers who were brought to the city from around the country to restore order.

The most infamous film of all was recorded when California Highway Patrol officers gang tackled 57-year-old Patricia Konie for refusing to be evacuated from her home, which had been left high and dry. She displayed a vintage Colt revolver just before she was body slammed with such force that she later required surgery, according to an account from her attorney Ashton O’Dwyer, interviewed late last year by Gun Week.

As the SAF/NRA lawsuit continued, New Orleans officials repeatedly insisted that no guns had been confiscated by officers in the city. Then, in mid-March, after the two gun rights organizations filed a motion to have New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Supt. Warren Riley held in contempt for violation of a consent order, the attorney for the city surprised attorneys for SAF and NRA by admitting that there were hundreds of guns being held at a police property storage facility.

Police sources in the city told Gun Week that gunowners could get their firearms back if they provided some proof of ownership, such as make, model and serial number or a signed affidavit with a description of the gun. They also had to go through background checks before guns would be returned.

“Natural disasters may destroy great cities, but they do not destroy civil rights,” Gottlieb observed. “Law-abiding citizens who are victims of nature must never again be victimized by governments that strip them of their only means of self-defense. America must never forget the lesson of New Orleans. Public officials better remember that if they ever try another arbitrary seizure of firearms from their law-abiding owners, SAF will be there to stop them.”

Kenneth Lew
July 25, 2006, 09:41 PM
Advice:

1. Take it as fact that you will loose your firearm for a undetermined period of time (time to be determined by the court system, if you have ever been through the criminal justice system, you will be waiting a long while).
2. Have another firearm, preferably the same type readily available after the incident because criminals always associate with criminals. Their friends and family may want to do great bodily harm against you.
3. Loosing your $600 firearm will be the least of your worries. Remember the grand jury and the $25k+ you will plant for a retainer for an attorney.

Dionysusigma
July 26, 2006, 10:57 AM
cyanide: It isn't how long you need be concerned about, I have seen the treatment impounded weapons / evidence gets.
For me, what they did was slather the thing in cosmoline. The spare mag was taped with clear packing tape to the outside of the gun. :scrutiny:

Aside from all the goo, the pistol was fine. This was with OCPD, by the way. And since the gun was merely burgled and recovered, as opposed to being used against someone, the process only took a couple of weeks. I didn't even know where to go until a couple of days beforehand... just remember to be polite, as police have enough jerks to deal with (kinda their job). Not sure as to how long it'd be if it were evidence.

When I finally got the okay to come pick it up, they first wanted my ID and "proof of ownership." The next day, I went to the store I bought it at (Brigadoon), knowing full well what day, month, year, make, model, and serial number, and I had a copy of the 4473 in minutes (and a new IDF shirt :rolleyes: :D ). Apparently this was enough, as I was given back my gun a couple days later after they ran my info through the system to make sure I hadn't done anything wrong since getting it over a year ago.

The threads I posted about the incident are
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=205980
and
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=207600

Hope this helps... :)

shooting time
July 26, 2006, 12:07 PM
Communist cobb county ga took my carry gun for evdience about 15 yrs ago .I got it back after court with no problems.I think it took about 4 or 5 months to go to court.

PinnedAndRecessed
July 26, 2006, 12:57 PM
Dion. That's unbelievable! I mean, you got your stuff back and all, but it's like they were using the episode as an opportunity to investigate you , the victim.

Deanimator
July 26, 2006, 03:54 PM
It's reliable, it's accurate, and if I have to shoot someone, I'd rather lose my $105.00 Hi-Point than my $650.00 Glock.

Then why HAVE the $650.00 Glock???

If somebody, on or off the public payroll, tries to steal my property, I have legal ways of making their life a veil of tears. And if you don't think the BATFE won't go after a cop, there are several Illinois State Troopers who can set you straight...

Deanimator
July 26, 2006, 04:06 PM
(A while back I said much the same and got a rather nasty reply from a guy who carried a super custom pistol worth (he said) $3500. He ranted that no matter what some $*&%# cop said, he would never drop HIS gun and he would shoot it out with the police before allowing HIS gun to get a scratch on it. Some folks are either stupid or plain nuts. Maybe his heirs will get the gun back.)
Barring unlawful use of lethal force on the part of the cop there's no need to shoot. I'd just set the gun on the ground carefully. If somebody damages my property, they're entitled to the full and undivided attention of my attorney, who owes me a lot of favors. And don't forget, the BATFE don't much care whom they torment. Civilian or cop, it's all the same to them. If I thought somebody was trying to use a criminal case as an excuse to steal my gun, I wouldn't hesitate to drop a dime on them to the BATFE.

Dionysusigma
July 26, 2006, 04:29 PM
PinnedAndRecessed: Dion. That's unbelievable! I mean, you got your stuff back and all, but it's like they were using the episode as an opportunity to investigate you, the victim.
I guess it's CYA on their part. Every time you fill out a 4473, it's a preemptive check, so it's not like it's the first time it's ever happened to me (or anyone else on this forum). Doesn't bother me anymore... *shrug*

PinnedAndRecessed
July 26, 2006, 05:30 PM
Doesn't bother me anymore

There's a principle of law IIRC known as presumption of innocence. Unless they have reasonable suspicion what right do they have to investigate you, the victim?

Dionysusigma
July 26, 2006, 07:00 PM
In regards to the background check that the Property Room did, or 4473s?

Zeitgeist, I guess.

PinnedAndRecessed
July 26, 2006, 10:43 PM
I said, Unless they have reasonable suspicion what right do they have to investigate you, the victim?

You said, In regards to the background check that the Property Room did, or 4473s?

This is to what I referred:
as I was given back my gun a couple days later after they ran my info through the system to make sure I hadn't done anything wrong since getting it over a year ago.


That's bull.

buzz_knox
July 27, 2006, 08:21 AM
There's a principle of law IIRC known as presumption of innocence. Unless they have reasonable suspicion what right do they have to investigate you, the victim?

It may suck, but there likely isn't anything one can do about it. A court would likely find that public policy was in the interest of doing the search and given 1) you have no expectation of privacy in terms of the records within the system when said records are being reviewed by the police themselves for the purposes of (possibly) preventing a crime and 2) it was of no cost to you. The court would probably find your rights weren't violated and it was within the scope of the department's jurisdiction.

And victims get investigated all the time. It's how the cops determine who is/is not an actual victim.

Presumption of innocence, by the way, applies to court proceedings and the like. It doesn't apply to police activities per se.

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