How do I get my gun back?


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Vitali
March 4, 2010, 10:05 AM
Almost exactly 10 years ago a "friend" stole my Beretta handgun and went out and got into a shootout with 2 San Diego Police officers. He was killed and the officers were wounded. The officers were found to be justified in their use of deadly force.

When I initially asked the homicide investigator when I could get my gun back, she said maybe in ten years. Recently, when I tried again, I was told I would never get it back as it's a "critical part of the puzzle" by an officer in homicide. :(

I'm sure it would cost more to hire a lawyer to get the gun back than the gun is worth. I plan to keep calling San Diego PD once in a while to try my luck. I'm probably going to check out the NRA's website also for some help. Anyone have any other ideas or thoughts on this?

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CoRoMo
March 4, 2010, 10:26 AM
Kiss it goodbye. I'd be surprised if the PD even has that gun anymore. It may have been destroyed years ago.

isp2605
March 4, 2010, 10:29 AM
If it was entered as evidence in the trial then it's part of the court property. It would not be up to the police to release the firearm but would take a court order to release any property from the court. You would need to get an attorney to file with the court for an order to release. Pretty simple stuff for an attorney.
However, I don't know CA law and their rules of evidence. It is possible that the gun could never be released as it was used in a homicide. Some states have laws which mandate that all evidence used in homicides be retained for lengthy periods of time. Just how long depends on the state law. Some states say that such evidence must be maintained forever. Several states passed these laws because many years later defendants appealled convictions or new evidence was found and courts have ordered either a review of the case or a new trial. In years past the evidence was destroyed or released and nothing was still available for the appeal or new trial.

docnyt
March 4, 2010, 10:32 AM
Curious as to why you would want a "tainted" gun back? It will always be marked as evidence and can be traced back to that incident, even if you got it back.

CoRoMo
March 4, 2010, 10:33 AM
...evidence in the trial...it was used in a homicide...

Do they conduct a trial for a shooter who was killed?:rolleyes:

He never said it was used in any homicide.

Arkansas Paul
March 4, 2010, 11:15 AM
Not gonna happen. Forget it.
I hope you choose your friends a little better now.

Vitali
March 4, 2010, 11:29 AM
There was no trial. He was drinking in a Mariott bar and couldn't pay the bill. The cops were called. When they were leading him out of the building, he pulled my gun and started shooting. There were several witnesses, nobody's disputing what took place and it's been 10 years. I understand I'll probably have to write it off. Just doesn't seem right that they can keep the gun that was stolen from me forever.

I have a biometric gun safe now and yes, I'm more careful.

Old Fuff
March 4, 2010, 11:41 AM
This may seem like a dumb question, but did you report the gun as having been stolen before or after the shooting? It could make a difference.

The 10-year business is probably bull. You should have filed a claim much sooner. Many police departments absolutely hate to give stolen guns back to the rightful owners, and prefer to let matters drag on without notice until the gun is ultimately distroyed. If you want it back you will first have to determine if it still exists, and if so who has it. Then you can file a claim, but expect to be given a run-around.

Vitali
March 4, 2010, 11:50 AM
This may seem like a dumb question, but did you report the gun as having been stolen before or after the shooting? It could make a difference.
Yes, it was stolen on a Fri, reported on Sat and the shooting occured on Sun.

WmCC
March 4, 2010, 11:59 AM
In FL you contact the local state attorney's office to secure the release of property/evidence subsequent to any court proceedings.

You may want to contact the appropriate DA or SA regarding the release of your firearm.

Vitali
March 4, 2010, 12:12 PM
In FL you contact the local state attorney's office to secure the release of property/evidence subsequent to any court proceedings.

You may want to contact the appropriate DA or SA regarding the release of your firearm.

There were no court proceedings. The assailant (my "friend") was killed. I doubt it would do any good to contact the DA's office. Am I wrong?

Old Fuff
March 4, 2010, 12:36 PM
I expect that some sort of hearing was held to determine if the officers were justified in shooting your friend, which apparently they were.

Usually evidence (in this case a pistol) are held until it is certain that no further legal action will be taken. Then it's is up to the District Attorney's office (by what ever name) to decide how the evidence should be disposed of. In the case of guns, and they're no pending claims, the firearm may be either sold at auction (rare) or destroyed (more common). It is most likely that if the pistol you own is still around it's in the police department's evidence room - and by now probably in poor condition. But you can go ask and see, and if it turns out that they still do have it file a claim. But getting it back probably would require you get a lawyer, and the gun likely isn't worth it.

Spencer_OKC
March 4, 2010, 12:43 PM
The gun was stolen, and used in a police shooting where the assailant was killed.

There is no criminal trial since criminal is dead, a department inquiry into the shooting should have been complete years ago, so unless there is a civil action against the city that is still in play they shouldn't have any reason to keep your firearm.

I would do some research on evidence procedures, make some calls about my property while taking notes of who I talked to and what they said, and then perhaps hire a lawyer to follow up (assuming this is an easy "lawyer letter" deal that isn't going to cost you more that a few hundred dollars).

Truth is, it probably went to a furnace somewhere, but I would want to someone to admit that to me. Maybe you'd be able to make a claim for the value of your lost piece.

Vitali
March 4, 2010, 12:52 PM
There is no criminal trial since criminal is dead, a department inquiry into the shooting should have been complete years ago, so unless there is a civil action against the city that is still in play they shouldn't have any reason to keep your firearm.

Exactly! :scrutiny:

Ronsch
March 4, 2010, 03:34 PM
Number one is to determine what has actually happened to the firearm in question.

Do this (old school) in writing. Send it to the DA and the Chief of Police for the jurisdiction in question. Send it certified with a "Return Receipt" requested (CRRN or "green card.") Set a reasonable time frame for response, generally two weeks should do the trick, and make sure in your letter, you put that. Also, you may want to cc the mayor, city manager, city assembly, and any other individuals that would seem prudent. Quite often, if the local political hacks (er..I mean representatives) gets involved, the PD and DA will get on it asap. Finally, you need to have a backup plan, including an attorney and subpoenas ready, as that may be the only way to get information, especially with their (if I read correctly) the PD and/or DA is claiming that the firearm still has some relevance to the case.

My younger brother was accidentally shot in 1998. He was wearing his Beretta in a shoulder rig. Because of the nature of the wound, the paramedics had to cut the rig off. Even though his friend's firearms was the weapon in question, the Phoenix PD seized the Beretta. When I went down to bring him up to Alaska, I had to go to the PD to retrieve the firearm. It was still covered in his blood. That was 3 months after the incident, and his gun was not even the firearm in question. They had stored it in a ziplock bag, with the magazine (unloaded of course.) Moral of the story, the gun may not be in very good condition.

YMMV.

wishin
March 4, 2010, 05:38 PM
Curious as to why you would want a "tainted" gun back? It will always be marked as evidence and can be traced back to that incident, even if you got it back.

And?? So??

Odds are pretty low after 10 years. It's probably long gone. I think you got bad advice 10 years ago. Still, take it up the ladder and contact the authorities, stopping only with the Mayor's office.

Vitali
March 4, 2010, 06:31 PM
Just now I tried to call the gun desk at SDPD and got a long recording. I left a message with my # and the property tag #, etc. There was information on the recording about a DOJ application for recovering a confiscated firearm. I found this on the web:

http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/legrinfo.php

I don't have the serial #. I wonder if that is necessary given the circumstances? It's $20, so I guess it's worth a try.

Vitali
March 4, 2010, 07:50 PM
Also this passage from the instructions has me a little concerned as well:

In the case of a handgun, the applicant must already have a record on file in the DOJ Automated Firearms System reflecting that he or she is the lawful owner or possessor of the handgun. It is the responsibility of the court or law enforcement agency with custody or control of the firearm to verify that the applicant is the lawful owner or possessor of the firearm.

I originally bought the gun at a show in Texas 22 years ago and never registered the gun in CA as it was not required. :banghead: :(

rugerman07
March 4, 2010, 08:12 PM
Personally, I wouldn't want it back if your friend in a drunken rage used it to wound 2 police officers. I also can't believe you posted this ridiculous thread.

isp2605
March 4, 2010, 10:19 PM
Do they conduct a trial for a shooter who was killed?
He never said it was used in any homicide.
To answer your questions since obviously you aren't atune to legal terms.
He sure did say it was used in a homicide. "He was killed ". That's a homicide. For your education, the legal term "homicide" means when someone is killed at the hands of another. Apparently you think homicide only means that a bad guy killed someone. Homicide is when a death occurs at the hands of another, justified killing or not.
As far as the gun being entered in evidence, even in justified police shootings there will be an inquest and/or grand jury. Any evidence entered into either those becomes part of the court record. Some states have laws which require all evidence connected with a homicide, and yes, even a justified police shooting case, to be maintained for lengthy periods of time. I had an evidence room full of evidence that I could never get rid of because it was all part of homicide cases, including police shooting cases.

Vitali
March 5, 2010, 02:03 PM
Personally, I wouldn't want it back if your friend in a drunken rage used it to wound 2 police officers. I also can't believe you posted this ridiculous thread.
I can't believe you think the gun is somehow tainted because it was used to wound 2 officers. If you had a car, somebody stole it and ran over 2 cops injuring them, would you want your car back? :scrutiny:

An officer from the gun desk called today. He verified they still have the gun. I left a message for a lieutenant in charge of Homicide Team 2. He's supposed to tell me if and when I can get the gun back.

Nick5182
March 5, 2010, 02:09 PM
My uncle used to own a gun store many years ago, and had a few guns stolen one night. About 20-25 years after they were stolen, he got a call from the local PD and they said they had one of the stolen guns and asked if he wanted it back. Apparently just a few weeks after the weapons were stolen, someone tried committing an armed robbery with one of the guns, and was arrested. After many years of the case being closed, they decided to give it back to him. Then again, nobody was killed in this instance.

CoRoMo
March 5, 2010, 02:14 PM
You implied that there was a trial. The OP stated that there was not. You don't have to stoop to personal attacks.
The officer's gun was used in the homicide. The Beretta was merely involved in the larger incident that resulted in the homicide. If he had been pointing his index finger to mock a pistol in his pocket, would you say his finger was used in the homicide? Surely you could tell what I was saying.

c5_nc
March 5, 2010, 02:45 PM
I think you have right to expect it should be returned. Not sure if its worth going to an attorney for given cost, I would try to be a squeaky wheel as much as possible to get it returned.

mptrimshop
March 5, 2010, 02:56 PM
rugermnan....why be a jerk?

isp2605
March 5, 2010, 05:27 PM
You implied that there was a trial. The OP stated that there was not. You don't have to stoop to personal attacks.
The officer's gun was used in the homicide. The Beretta was merely involved in the larger incident that resulted in the homicide. If he had been pointing his index finger to mock a pistol in his pocket, would you say his finger was used in the homicide? Surely you could tell what I was saying.
__________________
I am trying to explain to you legal definitions which apparently you are not versed.
A "trial" does not always mean what laymen think of jurors, judge, etal. There would have been a court proceeding of some type. Evidence most likely would have been admitted into the court record.
If someone died in the exchange of gunfire then yes that gun was used in a homicide even if it was not the gun that committed the death. It resulted in the death of the guy holding it. That makes it evidence in a homicide.
Forget your finger example. Hardly the same, completely irrelevant, and just plain foolish to even try to equate it.
I know what you were saying - you were saying you don't have knowledge of the legal terms, criminal investigations, and rules of evidence. I'm trying to explain them to you.

Colonel
March 6, 2010, 10:22 PM
isp2605 wrote the gun that committed the death.

Guns commit death?

divemedic
March 6, 2010, 10:59 PM
Since there is no Statute of limitations on murder, the weapon, along with the rest of the evidence, will not likely EVER be released. That is just in case some other evidence comes to light that may require charges to be filed.

At least that is the way it is here. CA may be different, but I can't imagine that in a case like this that it would be.

Vitali
March 7, 2010, 09:43 AM
Since there is no Statute of limitations on murder, the weapon, along with the rest of the evidence, will not likely EVER be released. That is just in case some other evidence comes to light that may require charges to be filed.

At least that is the way it is here. CA may be different, but I can't imagine that in a case like this that it would be.

That sounds accurate. You did a better job of explaining it than all the people I've talked to from the PD. In reality though, you have what has been ruled a justified police shooting in a major Hotel Downtown on a Sunday night. There were multiple witnesses in addition to the officers themselves that saw the whole episode. I can't imagine that realistically, they would need my gun as evidence. Convincing them of that, I guess, is the trick.

Vitali
March 7, 2010, 09:48 AM
Here's a question. I wonder if they have the 2 officers' guns locked up forever too? If they do, then I wouldn't feel so bad. I wouldn't agree with it, but at least I'd feel better about it.

gym
March 7, 2010, 02:01 PM
Did you ever go to the property clerks office and file the form there? I will tell you now, that you may get it back someday, but there is a good chance that it will be scratched and banged up. The case number may be scratched into the slide and frame. I woudn't waste time on it, your time is more valuable than what you are likelly to get back even if you do get it.

Vitali
March 7, 2010, 09:31 PM
Did you ever go to the property clerks office and file the form there?
No, I didn't. I was told by the officer at the gun desk that I needed to get Homicide Team 2 to okay the release. Then, get the gun under my name with the CA DOJ, which it currently is not. Then, fill out the CA DOJ Bureau of Firearms Law Enforcement Gun Release application. Then, try to get SDPD to ship the gun to me here in Jacksonville. :o

Vitali
March 16, 2010, 06:28 PM
After calling and leaving several messages for a certain Lieutenant, I just got a call back from SDPD. It wasn't him, but the officer in charge of Team 2. He said I need to get a federal court order (since I'm not in CA any longer) and ATF would have to okay the release.

So, anybody know how easy or difficult that would be? Sounds like I would need a lawyer. That's what I was trying to avoid because of the cost. Can I get a court order without a lawyer?

Old Fuff
March 16, 2010, 09:03 PM
You are being hoodwinked again:

You don't need a federal court order, or special ATF permission. But if you are now an out-of-state resident the gun has to be turned over to a FFL in California, who in turn must ship it to an FFL in your present state of residence. Then you pick up the gun from that dealer after filling our a #4473 form and going through a background check. State and local laws in your present state of residence will apply too.

Expect that you will have to pay a fee to both dealers.

FFL = Federally licensed gun dealer.

Vitali
March 16, 2010, 09:14 PM
You don't need a federal court order, or special ATF permission.

I called the SDPD gun desk. They told me the homicide unit has a hold on the gun. Homicide Team 2 just told me they wouldn't release the gun without a court order and an okay from ATF. Please explain how I can get the gun back without that.

Old Fuff
March 16, 2010, 10:03 PM
Well first of all you are being run around the bush, with no two people telling you the same story. This is not unusual with police departments that don't like returning guns - to anyone.

1. you need to follow whatever procedure is necessary to have the police department release the gun into the custody of a California gun dealer (FFL).

2. Next, by pre-arrangement the dealer has to send the gun to another FFL wherever you are. That FFL has to transfer the gun to you as I explained in my above post.

I think a lot of what you have been told is pure bunk, but most California laws and regulations are exactly that. Anyway, the police department may be more willing to release the pistol into the custody of an FFL rather then follow some other procedure because it will get them off the hook - they didn't after all, return the gun to you. So long as the gun is moved from the police department >CA. FFL > (wherever FFL) > to you, the ATF&E isn't involved. No federal court order or ATF&E permission is necessary, but I can't say what is required in California - they are no longer part of the USA. :fire:

Deanimator
March 16, 2010, 10:13 PM
Get a lawyer to write them a threatening letter, citing applicable law. That shouldn't cost too much and may scare them. You might also wish to notify the BATFE that they are in possession of a firearm contrary to law and you don't know if they've done this before. BATFE doesn't mind bending LEOs over the desk any more than anyone else, and they may get curious as to where the guns are actually going.

They may wish that they hadn't mentioned the BATFE.

Marty Hayes
March 17, 2010, 01:11 AM
Instead of spending the time and energy on this pursuit, work a little overtime and buy another. My 2 cents...

GreySmoke2
March 17, 2010, 01:27 AM
A friend of mine is a retired sheriff, while he was serving his backup gun was confiscated as evidence in a shooting. It wasn't the gun used but it was a similar gun. He has been retired for about 12 years now and he only got his gun back a a year ago. I think he said 15 years and it was only kept for balistics....

martialartsblackbelt
March 17, 2010, 02:11 AM
a tanted firearm? is that like a car that killed someone in a dui?

fragmag
March 17, 2010, 10:12 AM
Good luck man. I hope you get your gun back. Keep us updated.

Deanimator
March 17, 2010, 10:17 AM
Instead of spending the time and energy on this pursuit, work a little overtime and buy another. My 2 cents...
Of course, and when somebody tries to rob you at gunpoint, just give them the money and make it back with a little overtime. Don't bother to report it or try to get the robber arrested and prosecuted.

You don't discourage theft by consenting to it.

I'm trying to imagine any benefit from allowing the police to get away with stealing, but I've got nothing. Can you help me out?

heeler
March 17, 2010, 11:15 AM
Right.
No since being a jerk Rugerman.
Look it is his gun and he wants it back.
It's not his fault someone commited a felony by stealing his property.
If it was your gun and you didn't want it back that's all and fine too.
I dont think this thread is ridiculous at all.

paintballdude902
March 17, 2010, 11:41 AM
what type of pistol was it (model) whats the going rate of this pistol? does it hold sentimental value?


it just seems like alot of hassle for a gun that you may be able to pick up for 500 bucks. a lawyer will charge you more than that. but i would love to see a court order tell any PD in kali that they must return the pistol

Deanimator
March 17, 2010, 12:04 PM
it just seems like alot of hassle for a gun that you may be able to pick up for 500 bucks
1. That's NOT a $500 expense. It's a $1,000 expense. If you give in to theft, you're not only out the $500 for the replacement, you're out the $500 value of the original. He'll have bought TWO guns, the replacement and the one the cops stole.

2. Should you let me steal your car rather than go through the "hassle" of trying to get it back? What if you only have collision insurance? Do you think I'll be less or more likely to steal your next car or somebody else's?

3. And I'm still waiting for somebody to tell me the GOOD that comes from teaching the cops that they can STEAL and get away with it.

Arkansas Paul
March 17, 2010, 01:21 PM
As I said before, I don't think you'll get it back.
I do however hope you do and wish you luck.

Vitali
March 17, 2010, 01:44 PM
what type of pistol was it (model) whats the going rate of this pistol? does it hold sentimental value?

It was a Beretta 92F Compact with 2 magazines. It was a nice gun and in really good shape. I'm not sure what it would cost to replace. I'm pretty sure they don't make them any more. It was also the first gun I ever bought. So now that you mention it,... yeah, it probably does have some sentimental value.

rondog
March 17, 2010, 02:05 PM
Law Enforcement folks don't seem to be too cooperative at times. I bought something in January and gave 'em my credit card info over the phone. A co-worker in the next cubicle over heard, wrote down my CC info, then tried to use it to buy things for himself and his girlfriend. My bank noticed the activity immediately and called me within hours, the charges were blocked, the two charges that went through were credited back to me, but the police couldn't care less.

I know it was him because of the types of attempted charges and his personality, and the cops could simply request the transaction records from the merchants to see if his name or address show up, but they won't bother. No proof, no witnesses, no charges, can't even get the s.o.b. fired without causing myself more grief than it's worth. So I just gotta work with him every day, knowing what he did, yet I can't say anything about it.

Good luck with getting your pistol back, but it might cost you more than it was worth, and what you get back might be very disappointing too. It should be a no-brainer. Sure, it was used in a crime, but the crime was solved, it's all over and done with, nowhere to proceed with it. It was stolen from you, you had NO involvement in the crime, they should give it back with no questions. But good luck buddy, they're not on your side.

Deanimator
March 17, 2010, 02:12 PM
Good luck with getting your pistol back, but it might cost you more than it was worth, and what you get back might be very disappointing too.
How much does police corruption cost?

You'll lose FAR more by encouraging a culture of theft in the police than you'd EVER spend to get that gun back.

NMGonzo
March 17, 2010, 02:30 PM
I would write it off and console myself buying a nicer, shinier handgun.

Deanimator
March 17, 2010, 02:44 PM
I would write it off and console myself buying a nicer, shinier handgun.
At WHOSE expense?

How does paying the price for somebody ELSE'S theft "console" him in ANY way?

He's already been robbed once. You're advising him to CONSENT to a SECOND robbery. What exactly is "consoling" about that?

Vitali
March 17, 2010, 03:16 PM
I called the federal courthouse to ask if I need a lawyer to get a federal court order. The person that answered the phone told me they can't give legal advise.

I called the CA DOJ, told them the story and that guy couldn't help me either. He knew nothing about getting a court order. He did confirm that first I need to apply to get the gun in my name with the CA DOJ. I never registered the gun as it wasn't required 10 years ago. Then, I need to apply to the CA DOJ Law Enforcement Gun Release program, which I knew.

I also emailed the ATF to see what they might say about the whole thing.

Bubbles
March 17, 2010, 03:47 PM
When the gun was stolen did you report the theft to your insurance company and get compensated for it?

Vitali
March 17, 2010, 08:59 PM
When the gun was stolen did you report the theft to your insurance company and get compensated for it?
No. I didn't have homeowners insurance.

rainbowbob
March 18, 2010, 06:31 AM
In a word...fuggeddaboudit!

You have every right to have the firearm returned to you -and it will cost you more than it would to buy a new one...period.

Vitali
March 18, 2010, 01:41 PM
In a word...fuggeddaboudit!

You have every right to have the firearm returned to you -and it will cost you more than it would to buy a new one...period.
As soon as I find out that is the case, I will forget about it for a couple more years and try again. By then, all the people involved at the PD will be new. Who knows, eventually I might get someone that's sympathetic.

Cosmoline
March 18, 2010, 01:56 PM
Ten years is usually the statute of ultimate repose. The department may have given you that number because they wanted to keep evidence of the assailant's firearm in case some relative tried to sue. Go ahead and fill out their forms and make a formal request for it back, but I wouldn't waste too much time on it. The thing may be rusting away in a locker or just plain gone.

There would have been a court proceeding of some type.

Not necessarily. If the department deemed the shooting justified, there need not have been any judicial involvement at all.

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