Friday, May 31, 2013

Combat Veteran Sues over Gun Confiscation (with some help from Florida Carry, Inc.)

On a day that we honor those who fought in defense our Constitutional rights, we’d like to shine a light on a court case in Florida that, though only quietly gaining media attention, we feel speaks quite loudly about the obstacles and prejudices veterans face back home (and echoes the current state of our inalienable rights). Florida Carry, Inc., a non-profit carry and gun rights organization, has filed a lawsuit against the City of Daytona Beach (as well as two other individuals) on behalf of an unnamed combat veterans for unlawfully refusing to return firearms seized by law enforcement—a disturbing trend in the Sunshine state with a nickname, ‘Baker Acting’.

The lawsuit claims that the Plaintiff, who is referred to as “A.B.” in an effort to preserve the man’s privacy as well as, in his attorney’s words, to maintain “the protection of confidential mental health information and allegations by the Defendant”, reached out to a Veteran’s Assistance hotline in December 2012 for help with depression. Looking for someone to talk to, the VA hotline operator instead called the local police, who contacted the honorably discharged veteran and eventually committed him for an involuntary psychological evaluation. This included the confiscation of all of the man’s guns, which his attorneys emphasize was done without his consent. These guns, along with a bow, ammunition and some other “protective gear’ have not been returned to him.

Instead, after being released from his involuntary examination and deemed fit by mental health professionals, A.B. was told he would have to provide “affidavits from others, including additional mental health professionals” before he would see his guns again. He claims to have done just this, obtaining the requested documents, only to be informed that “the return of his property would require a court order”.

This final bit is patently false and in direct violation of Florida state law, though apparently this violation that has become increasingly common in a state that is no stranger to gun rights cases. Since a 1987, local governments in Florida have been sworn to uphold all state laws without enacting their own conflicting ones and a 2009 opinion by the Florida Attorney General made clear that continuing to detain a person’s firearms after they have cleared the state’s mental health examination is a violation of state (if not federal) law.

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