Sunday, June 12, 2016
Federal Court Rules: Legal Theft of Guns is not Legal
Law enforcement officers seize privately-owned firearms in a variety of situations. The problem, as we’ve written about previously, is that once a gun has been seized, the police often refuse to restore it to its lawful owner, even when the owner hasn’t done anything wrong: he or she hasn’t been convicted of or even accused of committing any crime, isn’t disqualified from possessing or owning firearms, and the gun isn’t needed for a police investigation or as evidence. When the value of the firearm is less than cost of the anticipated legal fees to contest the seizure and compel the return of the gun, many owners have little real choice but to forfeit their lawful property.
An obvious problem.
A federal court in Rhode Island has recently ruled that a municipality and its police chief violated a gun owner’s constitutionally protected due process rights by refusing to return his lawfully owned firearms for over six years, without providing a mechanism by which such seizures could be reviewed and resolved.