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View Full Version : Legal Guns Confiscated by Police...finally returned


ALSystems
12-24-2009, 1:34 PM
A good friend of mine who was single died last year in Ventura County. A call was made to 911 and both the paramedics and police came. The police went around the house and grabbed every gun they could find. There were a few handguns and a bunch of rifles, which were all legal. I used to go shooting with this friend for many years. The police claimed at the time, they didnít want a bunch of guns in an empty house that might be stolen.

The family wants the guns back and they are learning that it is next to impossible to get them back. First they waited for the police investigation report to be finished. Then they filled out an application for the family transfer of guns. Now the police storage place want proof of ownership before they will release them. Will a death certificate work instead? The gun records the family has are incomplete. Many of the gun stores these guns were purchased from are now closed. Is their anything that can be done?

Before you say he should have had a proper list and receipts for every gun, how many of you can honestly claim that you have given a complete list to your siblings or parents just in case something happens to you? Is this what the crazy laws have charged the police to do in California these days? This amounts to legalized theft. Have we reached the point that the police confiscate guns on the assumption they are stolen. Are we assumed guilty until proven innocent? Arenít we protected from unreasonable search and seizure? Isnít there just something wrong about this? Is this really so different if police can and took the kitchen knives and claimed they donít want dangerous weapons from falling into the wrong hands.

This should be a cautionary tale of what may happen to your own guns one day. Iím sure most of want them passed on to your family and not stolen and eventually destroyed.

1/10/2010 Update: The guns have finally been returned to the family! :cheers2:
There was a nice CZ75B and a few assorted rifles returned :D :yes: :D
See post #34 for details

gbp
12-24-2009, 1:57 PM
"Before you say he should have had a proper list and receipts for every gun, how many of you can honestly claim that you have given a complete list to your siblings or parents just in case something happens to you?"

I would imagine that most people on this board can not produce that for each gun they own, especially if they have been purchaseing for a long time. I would suggest that they talk to a lawyer about this. Did he have a will or anything that listed property?

"This amounts to legalized theft"

yes it does, and it would, could apply to almost everything a person owns that he/she does not have a receipt for.

r08ert209cali
12-24-2009, 3:08 PM
pmed the right people for you. dont say anything more for now they will contact you very soon.

bigcalidave
12-24-2009, 3:24 PM
pmed the right people for you. dont say anything more for now they will contact you very soon.

Why? It's not like he is being charged with a crime. Nobody is going to investigate his statements here. This is an important story to tell, even if we have heard it before. People need to learn what the right way to prepare for and handle these situations is.

r08ert209cali
12-24-2009, 3:33 PM
when legal council says it is cool then go for it. I am not legal council so it is up to the op. Knowing what I know these days I would erase my previous thread:TFH:

mscales5
12-24-2009, 3:34 PM
What gives them the right to take them? How do they know their not willed to a family member? That's just theft, plain and simple.

This is not unusual in any state. If the police or LE find guns in a house where the occupant died they will take the firearms so they won't be stolen once the LE leave. This should be a good thing so the firearms are not lost. You don't need to prove ownership because most states do not have a registration like CA and in Ca only handguns are registered. What should be easy is made harder by politics at the city and county levels and the police stations themselves. what people should do is have a list of firearms they own and keep it somewhere so that family members can find it and use that as the inventory for the firearms. What the LEs do is not right because they don't take possession of the big screen TV and then make you prove it was owned by a family member. So, if you don't get them back file a theft report and contact the insurance company. That will get the ball rolling.

ALSystems
12-24-2009, 3:35 PM
This is an important story to tell, even if we have heard it before. People need to learn what the right way to prepare for and handle these situations is.
I forgot to mention this was an accidental death. There was no crime involved. There were no other people in the house. There was also no will, so the possessions automatically go to his parents and siblings.

NorCalMama
12-24-2009, 5:26 PM
I am really curious to hear the outcome of this. I hope his family gets his guns! :mad:

GuyW
12-24-2009, 5:41 PM
Illegal theft (as opposed to the usual thefts imposed by law).

I think these cops should be sued each time they pull this @#$%

.

cbn620
12-24-2009, 5:57 PM
That's BS man. Fight it tooth and nail. Hope your friend's family gets their property back.

I always recommend keeping records and what not to prove ownership, but in a case like this I just can't bring myself to argue that to any vehement degree. Old, old guns and your friend did nothing illegal; no one asked the police to take the property, and why didn't they contact his next of kin first? Legal basis or not, let's just talk pure ethics.

I will say any new guns a person buys, keep records--it is almost a no brain-er with today's giant California bureaucracy. Hopefully there will be a day we don't have to worry about stuff like this, but until then I say play the stupid government game with all new purchases.

Old Timer
12-24-2009, 6:10 PM
Let's see if I understand this correctly. The cops steal the guns to keep somebody from stealing them?

1859sharps
12-24-2009, 6:17 PM
The problem isn't that the cops secured the guns in absence of a clear transfer of ownership path. The problem is the system for getting them back once that is established.

Lets be sure we are upset about the right thing here.

cbn620
12-24-2009, 6:25 PM
The problem isn't that the cops secured the guns in absence of a clear transfer of ownership path. The problem is the system for getting them back once that is established.

Lets be sure we are upset about the right thing here.

Can't we be upset about both?

oaklander
12-24-2009, 6:29 PM
Please contact me to discuss. I am an attorney with the CGF.

loudninja
12-24-2009, 6:48 PM
were these confiscated guns in a safe?

SoCalDep
12-24-2009, 6:54 PM
Hmm...We've taken guns before...if we can't find a family member to take 'em, but I distinctly remember bringing that damn heavy safe back for the family a couple days later....

I don't see why this should be such a headache. Maybe call the Watch Commander. Ask if any effort was made to locate family to secure and if not, why not.

SimpleCountryActuary
12-24-2009, 7:03 PM
I suppose one of the up-sides to having a FFL03 is the requirement for a bound book. That ought to be good evidence for the local LE since it is a Federal requirement.

It is a good idea to have purchased some firearms BEFORE getting the FFL03 so that not all your firearms are in the bound book. ;)

hoffmang
12-24-2009, 7:31 PM
In this instance, the persons whose property the guns now are will need proof of that fact. There is likely a probate document or somesuch that allowed his parents to take care of his affairs. If they have that document, all they then need is a LEGR for whoever is picking them up. Often one has to threaten some LEA's with a lawyer to get them to go ahead and get the firearms released.

Please call Kevin as he asked above. We'll give you a hand getting these into the appropriate hands.

-Gene

Matt C
12-24-2009, 7:41 PM
Wouldn't the family already be in probate court? Seems to me (a non-lawyer) that the family could ask the probate court for an order have the guns returned to whomever the court decides they now belong to (or the executor). Then they can just get an LEGR and go pick the guns up, the PD would pretty much have to turn them over at that point.

If probate is closed at attorney might still be able to get a court order (maybe even file a claim against the estate?), it might be best to talk to someone who specializes in probate law.

hoozaru
12-24-2009, 7:42 PM
there is nothing wrong with police coming to your house, taking all your guns for no reason, not returning any for no reason, this is very common in all communist states.

ALSystems
12-24-2009, 8:23 PM
In this instance, the persons whose property the guns now are will need proof of that fact. There is likely a probate document or somesuch that allowed his parents to take care of his affairs. If they have that document, all they then need is a LEGR for whoever is picking them up. Often one has to threaten some LEA's with a lawyer to get them to go ahead and get the firearms released.

Please call Kevin as he asked above. We'll give you a hand getting these into the appropriate hands.

-Gene
Thanks all.
The Dad filled out a LEGR with enclosed some money and sent it in early November. He got a letter back requiring proof of ownership before the police would release the guns.

I'll suggest they go to the property room with with some power of attorney type probate document if they have one. I'm really not sure if probate is closed yet since there is a house involved which takes forever to settle.

I will pass on this information to the family when I see them on Friday. I'll forward Oaklander's contact information. It would be nice if Oaklander (Kevin) would PM me with a real phone number I can pass on to the family. One of the family does live in your area.

I keep you posted how this goes.

ALSystems
12-24-2009, 8:32 PM
were these confiscated guns in a safe?
No Safe. But that doesn't really matter since it seems that the whole safe would be removed anyway according to SoCalDep. Please correct me if I am wrong in this assumption.

SoCalDep
12-24-2009, 8:47 PM
Not necessarily.

ALSystems
12-24-2009, 8:55 PM
The problem isn't that the cops secured the guns in absence of a clear transfer of ownership path. The problem is the system for getting them back once that is established.

Lets be sure we are upset about the right thing here.
I'm upset about this and so is the family.

Hypothetically, :whistling: if there was instead a clearly written signed will granting owningship to someone. Maybe something as general as "I give my entire estate to my sister Y" Would the police storage room accept that as sufficient proof of ownership with some picture ID? Or would they instead request some type of purchase receipt which is not always available.

Would the following examples be handled differently:
(1) Handgun purchased 5 years ago and therefore CA registered
(2) Handgun purchased 20 years ago or more and not registered
(3) Long Gun which is not registered.

trautert
12-24-2009, 9:06 PM
So, is the LEA requiring the family to come up with a detailed and specific list of the firearms taken by the LEA?

6172crew
12-24-2009, 9:23 PM
I know a Deputy who works that area, he is by the book but a Marine, I can probably make a call if the right people need it.

Not sure he can do much but never know.

obeygiant
12-24-2009, 9:31 PM
I will pass on this information to the family when I see them on Friday. I'll forward Oaklander's contact information. It would be nice if Oaklander (Kevin) would PM me with a real phone number I can pass on to the family. One of the family does live in your area.

I keep you posted how this goes.

PM sent with contact info.

r08ert209cali
12-25-2009, 7:20 AM
There will be a few hoops but the guns will be returned I believe. so be patient. I know it is hard but I think they will get a fair outcome.

Once all proper paper work is done which sounds as though it may be,a call from a cgf lawyer will probably straighten out the department and stop all the b/s.it is sad that it is this way but it is.

wildhawker
12-25-2009, 9:27 AM
Obeygiant passed along the appropriate contact info; let's allow this one some time to work through (especially considering it's Christmas and this matter won't be any more or less resolved today).

mscales5
12-25-2009, 10:01 AM
I have a friend whos brother died. He lived in Florida and my friend was on his way to visit him when he got the news of his brothers death. The police had taken any firearms they found in the house not in the gun safe. The guns were returned upon the request of his son with no hasseles other then the son had to prove he was the son. I really don't see a problem with that the way things are today. We all know that a empty house where the occupant has died is rip for being ripped off. This saved the firearms from being stolen. But, in the case of this post it should not be that hard to get them back except for the CA laws for a background check. The way I see it is, if you are a family member and not prohibited they should be released ASAP. Anything else and I would consider it theft no matter who has them.

If the police took $3000 in cash or other items it is no different then taking $3000 worth of firearms. But what the LEs should ahve done is contacted a family member if they could, and that should not be hard to find out at the time, and call them to come secure the property and valuables.

BobB35
12-25-2009, 10:59 AM
Protect and serve - don't make me laugh.

More like to fleece and steal, this is just your run of the mill "in"justice system at work.

Welcome to the police state. You voted for it now you get to live in it.

ALSystems
01-10-2010, 12:51 PM
The Police have no intention of giving them back, period. I'm sure they just want to keep stalling until some kind of time limit passes and they are destroyed. You will never be able to come up with the "proper" paperwork, and they know that. I have guns I don't have receipts for. I bought them years ago, and I never thought to save receipts back then. How on earth is the next of kin supposed to supply that. It's impossible, and if for some reason the rightful heirs did supply receipts, or a copy of the transfer paperwork, it would not have their name on it, so the LEA would refuse to release them anyways. Even if it did, they would come up with some more hoops to jump through. Just the fact that the family are claiming ownership by bequest makes it impossible to supply the proof of ownership they are requesting. Seems the only way to get anything back from a law enforcement agency in California is by threat of legal action from a attorney. This is, plain and simple, a communist police state. If you have something that the powers that be find objectionable, they confiscate it. Want it back? Your going to have to pay more than it's worth to get it. Don't like it, to bad. You have no rights here.
The guns have finally been returned to the family! :cheers2:
There was a nice CZ75B and a few assorted rifles returned :D :yes: :D
It took an entire year to accomplish this with numerous phone calls.

The last letter the family received was asking for proof of ownership. The previous letter stated that if the family didn't pickup the guns within 30 days they would be destroyed. Both were not true. I believe these letters were designed to be deceptive and discouraging just like CA gun laws are designed to be ambiguous and confusing. This system is a disgrace! :no:

These were the steps taken to actually retreive the guns:
(1) Wait for the police report to be finished
(2) Fill out LEGR and pay $19 for the handgun (like a DROS)
(3) Go to the police property room with your ID (father) and the death certificate (son)

No gun receipts or proof of ownership was actually required despite the letter requesting this.

Kid Stanislaus
01-10-2010, 12:59 PM
"No gun receipts or proof of ownership was actually required despite the letter requesting this."

Its just a program of throwing as many stumbling blocks in the path of the law abiding citizens as possible. We don't call it the PRC for naught.