RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS? Police grabs of legal guns on the rise across US

Posted: April 13, 2015 at 11:51 am

Cherished family heirlooms were among the 21 firearms Michael Roberts surrendered to the Torrance Police Department in 2010, after his doctor filed a restraining order against him.

The court order was the result of a dispute Roberts had with a member of the doctors staff and, after Roberts pleaded no contest, the matter was resolved. Yet, even though he filed the proper Law Enforcement Gun Release paperwork on four separate occasions, obtained clearance from the California Department of Justice and had two court orders commanding the return of his guns, police refused to hand them over.

With the backing of the National Rifle Association and California Rifle and Pistol Association, Roberts filed a federal lawsuit in May 2014, over the $15,500 worth of firearms. In the end he got the money, but not the guns. The police had had them destroyed.

Second Amendment lawyers say his case is not rare.

NRA and CRPA constantly get calls from law abiding people having problems getting their guns back, said Chuck Michel of Long Beach based Michel & Associates, who represented Roberts in the case. The state Department of Justice wrongly tells police not to give guns back unless the person can document ownership of the gun and it is registered in the state DOJs database. But the law doesnt require this.

Gun owners cant comply anyway, Michel said, because police themselves routinely fail to enter the firearms into the DOJs database, and most people dont have receipts for the guns they own.

While Americans have the constitutional rights to keep and bear arms and protect their property from governments unlawful seizure it is not just in California where guns are seized and destroyed illegally, attorneys charge.

"This kind of below-the-radar bureaucratic gun confiscation is a growing Second Amendment and property rights violation problem, particularly in strict gun control states like California, New Jersey and Massachusetts, said Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation. People can't afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees to get back a $500 firearm."

The Second Amendment Foundations most recent case involves Rick Bailey, a 56-year-old Navy veteran from Glendale, Ariz., whose entire collection of 28 firearms valued at $25,000 was seized by authorities because of an ongoing dispute with a neighbor.

After Bailey complained over several months to the city of Glendale that his neighbor frequently parked his landscaping companys dump trucks in front of Baileys home -- and toxic chemical odors were coming from his neighbors property -- the neighbor obtained a harassment order against Bailey. Police showed up and seized Baileys gun collection.

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RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS? Police grabs of legal guns on the rise across US

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