View Full Version : Getting rifles returned from PD

07-17-2005, 8:34 AM
A friend of mine was keeping her bolt action rifles at one of her friend’s house. (He doesn’t have any kids, she does). About a year ago the Ventura PD arrested him, searched his house and confiscated all the guns.
She has documentation on only some of the guns that are hers. The court said that they would not address her guns until the case against her friend was finished.
Two weeks ago all charges were dropped.
Her lawyer told her that she has a hearing in a couple of weeks.
Does this sound right? With everything dropped shouldn’t both of them get their guns returned?
Can they drop everything and still keep the guns?

07-17-2005, 6:47 PM
Yes, they have to get their guns back, since they were not charged with a crime or anything in the like. As for the hearing, maybe it has to do with something else? Or else they HAVE to return the guns to both of you, thats if they didn't destroy them or anything..

07-17-2005, 9:37 PM
Without knowing the specifics it is hard to say. The problem may be documentation. If she wasn't charged with anything and can prove ownership, the police should have no reason to hold the rifles.

The only reason for the court to hold her rifles is if her friend is being charged and the rifles are being held as evidence, or were involved with a crime.

The hearing may be about failure to register the rifles in question. You did say she had documentation on only some of the guns. This would imply that others are not properly documented. Registration isn't always mandatory. Of course, these are all assumptions. At least she was smart and got a lawyer.

07-17-2005, 11:04 PM
It's often difficult to get firearms returned even when the owner committed no crime.

Many times folks have to sue the PD or DA's office / property office to release firearm(s) back to owners. Oftentimes the legal costs exceed the value of the gun(s) in question.

If you can't prove you own a given gun (receipts and/or registration paperwork), it's highly unlikely you will get it returned to you.

There have been some very recent changes in the law about return of firearms to owners, I can't recall what they are (when I have time I'll update/comment on it on this thread after I've found what they are).

Guns are not required (with certain exceptions) to be reg'd in CA. Assault weapons + 50BMG rifles are required to be specially registered. There is de-facto registration via DROS for handguns sold/transferred in CA after 1 Jan 91. Supposedly long gun sale info is not kept, however, after 10 day wait and background check. Also, guns were able to legally be privately transferred w/o paperwork in CA before 1 Jan 91, and there is no requirement that these are to be subsequently registered. Folks moving into CA before 1 Jan 9 did not need to register any of their guns (but now have to reg their handguns if they moved in after this date).

Your friend was not too bright to let the rifles out of her possession and with no paperwork, and to a person that "things happen to" (PD bust, confiscation). [Heck, both of 'em might even have been able to be busted for illegal transfer of firearms!!].

She shoulda kept 'em locked up at her home. For the price of the rifles she's likely lost, she coulda bought a gun safe.

Another person being stupid trying to be cheap.

For those new to the law, standards for property seizure and retention (and return to owner) are lower than those for persons being arrested/freed. Don't expect your gun to magically appear back after you are not convicted/cleared/dropped charges of a crime.

This is one place where owning reg'd/DROSed guns can be helpful.

Bill Wiese
San Jose

07-18-2005, 8:04 AM
Some info regarding this topic on page 3 of the file (AB 2431).

Originally posted by bwiese:

There have been some very recent changes in the law about return of firearms to owners, I can't recall what they are (when I have time I'll update/comment on it on this thread after I've found what they are).

07-18-2005, 9:13 AM
what hearing is it?

email me some info (i.e., their names, case #, etc.) and I might be able to figure out what is going on.

07-18-2005, 12:05 PM
Only in CA would they (CA DOJ) have a special 'form' that they say is REQUIRED to be completed if one desires to have firearms currently in the possession of a court / law enforcement agency returned! See here:

Law Enforcement Gun Release Application (http://caag.state.ca.us/firearms/forms/pdf/legr.pdf)

Note that they charge $20.00 to process the form, and the form never asks for any info about any long guns one is trying to have returned - only handguns!


07-18-2005, 6:36 PM
Dude that is bs.

07-20-2005, 9:29 PM
With everything dropped shouldn’t both of them get their guns returned?
Can they drop everything and still keep the guns?

They can and do keep them. About 7 years ago I remember reading that the CRPA had filed suit in L.A. as LAPD and/or LASO had a policy of not returning seized firearms unless presented with a court order to release them back to the owner. I believe Alameda County has a similar unspoken policy from what I've heard. I imagine that it's the same with all the major population centers in CA.

Good luck with her getting her guns back, but I wouldn't hold my breath over it. It's all up to the judge and he may just feel that she isn't responsible enough to risk returning them to her.

08-01-2005, 9:49 AM
I just last week had my regestered AW's returned after 6 months of fighting the system. It was a long road but the weapons are not replaceable here in Ca. so worth it to me. They did destroy 500+ rounds of ammo. but I got the guns and mags without additional cost or fees.
I believe Sheriff Dennis Downum, In Calaveras Co. is a fair and standup guy and only doing what he feels is necessary to protect the county from liability.
The DOJ LEGR is avaliable online and takes about 2 months to process right now.
If they dont release the weapons get a written reason and a lawyer.

08-01-2005, 2:17 PM
Seems to depend on the circumstances and the PD. I've known people to get returned guns that were stolen which was nice. Also I had a Colt Agent confiscated but no charges filed(long story)LBPD BTW, I have never dealt with LASD or LAPD in such a manner.

I gave up hope of ever seeing the gun and I figured it was best just to write it off, not worth the legal trouble for a 3-4 hundred dollar gun. Ended up getting it back though w/o too much hassle, they supposedly checked with DOJ to see if I could have the gun back but I filled out no form or paid no fine to do so.

Didn't get back the ammo or speedloaders as I wasn't willing to make another trip downtown to get them. They would not release gun and ammo at same time. I told them to keep it as a gift! They said they would just be destroyed eventually. The sign in the property room detailing the rules for oficers to check in or take out narcotics was interesting too. This was around the timesof the rampart scandal.

I met a guy that had a gun confiscated by Long Beach PD also. He had a Beretta Jetfire in his pocket, illegal CCW. Was basically pulled over for being in a lowrider/"gangsta" type car on a Friday night and was basically a case of DWB(driving while black or brown!)

DA basically agreed and threw it out as insufficient probable cause. Of course when you get put in on a Friday you spend the whole wekend in jail too. Guy asked me my advice to get gun back. I just told him be thankful he got off so easy and consider the $150 item a loss.

08-02-2005, 8:35 PM
dont forget the 2 dead dudes who robbed the BofA in north hollywood.

they were stopped previously and arrested. they had their long arms in the trunk of the car and was confiscated.

after they were released, they said they were gonna sell them to help pay their legal fees.

they got their guns back!

so there is hope...

[sarcasm off]

08-20-2005, 5:40 PM
Took me about 4 years to get a legally owned and registered pistol back form Marin county PD... My van had been stolen in San Francisco and then recovered two weeks later... Three years down the road I am at a round table in Sausalito I climb in my van to drive away and a full felony stop ensues... Shotguns and guns pointed at me... They said the van had been reported stolen and they had no record of it being recovered.. They took my legally registered handgun for whatever reason and let me go.... 4 and a half years later I finally got my handgun back covered with rusty fingerprints and pitting.....

08-21-2005, 1:51 PM
Man what is up with people now a days? So much fear over nothing. Our damn government, every time, keeps taking more and more of our freedom all in the name of "safety." Safety my a**! They just want to control us.