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How do I get my gun back?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Vitali, Mar 4, 2010.

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  1. Vitali

    Vitali Member

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    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?
     
  2. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    Kiss it goodbye. I'd be surprised if the PD even has that gun anymore. It may have been destroyed years ago.
     
  3. isp2605

    isp2605 Member

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    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.
     
  4. docnyt

    docnyt Member

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    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.
     
  5. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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

    He never said it was used in any homicide.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
  6. Arkansas Paul

    Arkansas Paul Member

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    Not gonna happen. Forget it.
    I hope you choose your friends a little better now.
     
  7. Vitali

    Vitali Member

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    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.
     
  8. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    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.
     
  9. Vitali

    Vitali Member

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    Yes, it was stolen on a Fri, reported on Sat and the shooting occured on Sun.
     
  10. WmCC

    WmCC Member

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    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.
     
  11. Vitali

    Vitali Member

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    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?
     
  12. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    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.
     
  13. Spencer_OKC

    Spencer_OKC Member

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    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.
     
  14. Vitali

    Vitali Member

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    Exactly! :scrutiny:
     
  15. Ronsch

    Ronsch Member

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    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.
     
  16. wishin

    wishin Member

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    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.
     
  17. Vitali

    Vitali Member

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    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.
     
  18. Vitali

    Vitali Member

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    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: :(
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2010
  19. rugerman07

    rugerman07 Member

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    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.
     
  20. isp2605

    isp2605 Member

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    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.
     
  21. Vitali

    Vitali Member

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    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.
     
  22. Nick5182

    Nick5182 Member

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    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.
     
  23. CoRoMo

    CoRoMo Member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  24. c5_nc

    c5_nc Member

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    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.
     
  25. mptrimshop

    mptrimshop Member

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    rugermnan....why be a jerk?
     
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