Gun rights activists have long worried about “gun violence restraining orders” and similar firearm surrender orders. They have long believed that such terminology would allow liberals who oppose guns and the Constitution (Not necessarily in that order) would use those methods to confiscate legal guns. In many cases, legal gun owners will not be charged after their guns are confiscated and law enforcement agrees they broke no laws but still refuse to return the guns.
Meet Andrew Carroll. He is a resident of Nassau County, New York. You may remember hearing that the prosecutor there ordered the lawyers working under him not to own guns. He reversed himself after he caught grief from all across the United States for his unconstitutional order.
The police confiscated three rifles belonging to Carroll and promised to return them that night as long as there was no reason to consider him a threat. They didn’t find he was and even though he was not charged with a crime, they kept his guns and informed him they would be destroyed after one year if he failed to win them back in court.
Carroll lives in the upper part of a house and his mother lives in the basement apartment. She took his AR-15 rifle because she claimed that her son owed her fifty dollars. He then called the police to recover the gun. To his surprise, not only did they take the AR-15 but they also took two other long guns in his possession legally. The confiscation law was written so broadly, law enforcement could seize guns and keep them even if they could not stretch the language to justify confiscation.
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The confiscation policy, Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) Department Procedure OPS 10023, Removal and Disposition of Weapons – Domestic Incidents/Threats to Public Safety, authorizes the confiscation of lawful firearms during “domestic incidents,” but goes further. It empowers law enforcement officers to confiscate legally possessed guns when these can be viewed as “creat[ing] a threat of violence” or any “threat to public safety” at all. Once confiscated, the firearm cannot be returned to its owner where the reviewing police officer finds the owner “has a relevant Nassau County arrest history” (whatever that may be), or where “other extenuating circumstances” exist which indicate the gun “should not be returned” (whatever these may be).
Carroll decided to sue in federal court for violations of his Second Amendment and other rights. He also demanded that the county be enjoined from destroying his guns and to stop them from future illegal gun confiscations. The decision by District Judge Arthur Spatt was almost as incredulous as the confiscation of the guns themselves. He denied the injunction against Nassau police, citing the belief that Carroll could be compensated monetarily for having his guns stolen by law enforcement.
I challenge the judge to show me in the Constitution where any government agency, local, state or federal, are allowed to illegally seize guns and then compensate the owner with cash. It is more likely that this judge just wants to make it very expensive for Carroll to get his guns back and even if he receives money in place of the guns, Nassau County will in all likelihood refuse him a permit to buy new guns.
This is the Obama Effect, whereby ideology outranks the law.
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