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Confiscation for Ballistic Testing?

This story is all kinds of goofed up. But this part jumped out at me:

Ralph Troutman: “They threatened to take me to jail. Long story short, I didn’t go to jail they gave me an incident report, but they took my weapons and said they needed them for ballistic testing.”

Ralph was told the tests would take three months to make sure the guns were never used in a crime, and then if he wanted the guns back, he would have to go to court to get them.

So police contend that they can take your gun and just ‘check’ and make sure it wasn’t used in a crime? That’s dubious from both a constitutional perspective and a scientific one. I don’t know that such a test could work.

11 Responses to “Confiscation for Ballistic Testing?”

  1. Jeff the Baptist Says:

    “That’s dubious from both a constitutional perspective and a scientific one.”

    Constitutionally it is reprehensible. He needs a lawyer and has ground for a civil liberties lawsuit that will bypass their sovereign immunity. Then he needs to make sure it has enough in the way of punitive damages that he can pay his lawyers out of it.

    Scientifically they’re going to ballistic test every gun and casing. Then they’ll enter it into a whopping great database, then see if any matches pop up.

  2. Mr Evilwrench Says:

    Plus “used in a crime” does not necessarily mean fired. How could one test a firearm to determine that it had been used to menace the cashier in an armed robbery, or pistol-whip the homeowner in a home invasion?

  3. Gregory Markle Says:

    He really needs to find a lawyer that will do a pro bono suit for defamation and wrongful seizure…make the damages around $100,000…state that the seizure records and incident could damage his ability to attain future employment (he’s ex-military and could be refused security clearances.)

    I’ve done the “we need to fingerprint your weapon” shuffle and it took them three days to return it. Long story, occurred back in the Clinton years. They had a loose (VERY) reason to do it and I was new to the Title II firearms community. Not much to be gained by refusing and who knows what they would have done if I did. Suffice it to say that within a week of it’s return the fingerprints were useless.

  4. Sigivald Says:

    Sure sounds like he’s being deprived of property without due process of law (any process at all, in this case).

    The Fifth Amendment has words to say about that… and doing it under color of law (which is what it would be if it’s police officers doing it) is a Federal crime (18 USC 242).

  5. ATLien Says:

    But not all cops are ignorant jackasses that are ignorant of the law and push people around!

    /endofbscopapology

  6. Lyle Says:

    You put your faith in cops, thinking they’ll protect you from gangsters and the like, and you get cops as gangsters, shaking you down and pushing you around. Dumbasses. I guess we deserve it. We sure as hell asked for it. We’ve been begging for this for generations.

  7. Divemedic Says:

    As a paramedic, we are not allowed to transport armed patients, including cops. We are supposed to turn all weapons over to the cops. The problem lies with the Sheriff’s department: all guns that come into their possession are kept for “testing” and are nearly impossible to get back. So what I do (risking termination) for armed patients who have a CCW and are not jerks, is put the weapon in their bag and return it to them at the hospital.

  8. CarlS Says:

    Divemedic: It appears that your employer is at risk due to the policy which requires you to unlawfully take (steal) the personal property of another who has not been charged with a crime. (Those who were injured during the commission of a crime, on the other hand … ). At risk of lawsuit by the patient, and by you. It also appears that any Sheriff who retains said property for “testing”, absent clear and convincing probable cause, is indeed violating the 4th Amendment, and several other civil rights of the UN-accused. Were it me, I would have a card made up and provide it to the patient, so advising them. The court cases would be interesting.

  9. Rivrdog Says:

    The link to the story is busted, but if I get the drift, the cops are using a ruse to disarm folks. That shouldn’t be very hard to prove, since test-firing each weapon and cataloging the bullet and casing requires just a few minutes each in the lab. It could actually be done on “while you wait” basis, if the cops wanted to.

    One more thing: such a seizure, unless done with a warrant of search or incident to arrest, is plainly unconstitutional. The victim here needs to call the superior police jurisdiction in his area, probably the State Police, and made a complaint of theft by a government employee, then he needs to hound the DA into issuing a formal charge based on it.

    When some police functionary’s freedom is at risk, this system will go away overnight. Lawsuits? The cops put up with those all the time, and lawsuits aren’t going to change the equation. An indictment and prosecution of a cop WILL change the equation.

  10. Billll Says:

    If his gun was better than the cop’s guns, I could see it taking 3 months for every cop on the force to run a couple of mags through it to test it against their own weapon. If it was a Raven or a Jimenez, he should get it back in no time at all.

  11. Skip Says:

    OC in Kali says” check if unloaded and return to owner”.