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Old March 5, 2010, 06:10 AM   #1
Ghost Mercenary
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Police Confiscated 2 Rifles When No Crime Has Been Commited.

I am a 31 year old single father. I have custody of my daughter and am raising her.

A few years back, my mother moved in with us. My mother suffers from Bi-Polor Disorder. Most of the time she is okay, but she went off of the deep end tonight, and was cruel.

She called the police and told them I was going to commit suicide with one of my rifles.

The police came out, forced me into an ambulance to go to the hospital to get phycriatic treatment. There is nothing wrong with me, she just did this to be mean.

Anyway, The police confiscated my 20 gauge shotgun and my .22 semi auto matic rifle.

My question is; since my firearms are not evidense to a crime, and have never be used in a crime, how would I go about getting my guns back?

I think it would be BS to have to pay to get them back since they were not used in a crime.

I looked up my police departments web page, but found nothing.

Does anyone have any advice?
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Old March 5, 2010, 06:21 AM   #2
rattletrap1970
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Get a lawyer. Unfortunately you will need legal council. I would imagine you will have to get her medical records and your police records and prove that she is a wackjob and you are a responsible gun owner.

I love my mom, but regardless of her condition (if she had one like that), that would be the last time we crossed paths.
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Old March 5, 2010, 06:30 AM   #3
Ghost Mercenary
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Rattle,

I love my mom too, but she has crossed the line this time. She tried to have me committed for 72 hours due to her illness. I am going to call the police station at 9am EST when their switch boards open and talk to them.

The thing is, though, I do not have the money for a lawyer. The doc gave me a clean bill of mental health, so hopefully that works in my favor...

I am just hoping I do not have to pay to get my firearms back.
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Old March 5, 2010, 07:19 AM   #4
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I dont believe you will have to Pay anything, you will, have to explain all of the circumstances and hopefully speak to someone with a little intelligence!
Good luck, sorry about your mom.
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Old March 5, 2010, 07:31 AM   #5
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Ghost
Don't call the cops
Go in and explain the situation.
Let them see you're a normal reasonable person and you're being proactive to protect your mom.

A voice on the phone doesn't do that

AFS
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Old March 5, 2010, 07:44 AM   #6
Ghost Mercenary
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Than you guys for the informative replies. The city Police Department opens at 9am so I'll be talking a trip down there.

I'm just baffled no how they were able to take my firearms when no crime was commented, or any attempts to commit a crime.

I have a clean record, and passed BG checks on each of my guns and have licenses for them.

Oh, I just noticed, they took several boxes of ammo too.
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Old March 5, 2010, 07:56 AM   #7
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They're the Department of Public Safety, and they're trying to keep the public safe.

They don't know you, and they don't know you're one of the good guys. So they need to act in a manner that provides for safety until the facts have been established.

AirForceShooter was right, IMHO. Make an appointment, show up, describe your mother's history of mental illness, and establish the facts. Afterwards you should be able to recover the items they confiscated.

Your real problem will be dealing with your mother, who possibly may repeat this episode unless she is moved out of your house to another living arrangement, etc.
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Old March 5, 2010, 08:09 AM   #8
ZeSpectre
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Quote:
AirForceShooter was right, IMHO. Make an appointment, show up, describe your mother's history of mental illness, and establish the facts. Afterwards you should be able to recover the items they confiscated.
Yup.
And make sure to bring any documentation (prescriptions, etc) that your mother is taking as evidence to back up your case.

My mother and I went through something like this with my grandmother. At the very end of her life she developed severe dementia and started sneaking into her bedroom and secretly calling the cops every time we came over because "these strange people are in my house and they are trying to kill me and steal my stuff". (The "stolen" stuff being things she was suddenly remembering from childhood that were many years gone)

Very soon the cops understood the situation and stopped responding, but the first time was NOT a comfortable situation.
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Old March 5, 2010, 08:35 AM   #9
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A friend of mine has a brother who is a convicted felon. The brother was living with his mother for a while. She had 3-4 handguns. When she died, the state police showed up the very next day to confiscate the weapons. A felon cannot legally posses a weapon in the state in which they lived so the police were right on top of the situation. It was pretty insensitive (showing up the next day) but I guess that is the law. In order for my friend (without any convictions) to get the weapons back, he had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and claim them from the police. It doesn't cost anything, its just a hassle.
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Old March 5, 2010, 01:06 PM   #10
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If you have been legally committed to a mental institution or hospital, it is a violation of federal law for you to have access to a firearm. However, this typically requires a judge's order deeming you a danger to yourself or to others, allowing the facility to hold you against your will. As others have already said, it sounds like the cops were acting preemptively in case this were to happen.

Normally, however, the police and judicial system will not (and often legally cannot) commit someone until the person's mental state is evaluated by a trained medical doctor. They can temporarily detain someone until the evaluation is completed, but the person has the right to be released once the doctor's evaluation comes back clean. This is legally similar to arresting a criminal suspect while police perform a preliminary investigation to determine if charges should be filed, then releasing the person when it's determined that they didn't actually break the law.

If you were legally committed, you will need to get a court order reversing it. OTOH based on your brief description, it sounds like you were only temporarily detained, so you should be able to get your guns and ammo back.

Mandatory disclaimer: I am not an attorney, nor do I play one on TV. This is not official legal advice. Caveat emptor.
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Old March 5, 2010, 03:33 PM   #11
stungunmike
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Some good info about how to deal with the situation. I think showing up in person and speaking with a human (staff Sgt, etc) is the best idea.

Remember its not an all or nothing thing so dont go away empty handed. If you cant resolve the issue get them to give you a step towards resolving it. If you don't like the step then find out how to go above/around them, they may completely agree with you but are unable to do anything due to red tape.

As far as your mother's situation it is possible that she just wanted to show you she wasn't crazy by having them take you away. I know it sounds weird but mental health patients are usually very misunderstood people, and unfortunately there is no known cause or cure, and because of the nature of the disease nobody takes them seriously even though they are the only ones who have experience with the disease itself.

Hope all the best for you and your loved ones with this.

Peace
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Old March 5, 2010, 04:01 PM   #12
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If you were held for evaluation (72hr typical) and relased, then you were not committed to a mental institution (even if you were held in one), and you have no legal barrier to getting your guns back. Except, once you explain how your mother has problems, the cops may not be too happy with her being in a house with guns in it.

You might have to satisfy their needs as to public safety before they will release your guns back to you. And, this in not entirely beyond reason.

Your mom was deluded, called the cops on you. What if next time, she decides to use one of your shotguns? The cops have a reasonable need to know she cannot gain access to them, if she is going to remain in your home.

Its not a law (unless a court orders it), but it is good sense. Proving to the cops you have your guns locked up, and she cannot do harm with them will ease their minds.

I know some folks who have a family member felon living with them. They have guns. As long as the felon cannot access them, the law is ok with it. Locked up, and only you (or other sane, non felons) have the key, and the law is happy. Unsecured, either the guns, or the prohibited person have to go.

Its a sad thing, but bi polar people off their meds (and sometimes even on them) have a tenous grasp on reality, if that. But they don't think they do. They think that they are still in their "right" minds, and can be very difficult to deal with sometimes.

You need to let the local cops know about her, and her medical history as much as you can, without violating her legal right to provacy. Because, if this has happened once, it can happen again. Better for everyone if the cops know that a call from her may not be the situation she says it is.

They'll still have to respond, of course, but knowing how she is will make them a little more inclinded to be reasonable when considering her accusations.

Good Luck.
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Old March 5, 2010, 06:03 PM   #13
teeroux
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I don't know the law where you live. Here in Louisiana an officer cannot take a person in for evaluation unless the Officer witnesses the condition or actions of the subject and determines by their own observation that they are a threat to themselves or others. IE they cannot go by your mothers word alone. http://law.justia.com/louisiana/codes/12/85245.html see (L)1

Also just FYI an officer cannot coerse you into comminting yourself unless the officer has just cause and intent to take you in reguardless. http://law.justia.com/louisiana/codes/12/85240.html see D

If everything cleared out though just make an appointment and tell them to give you back your stuff.
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Old March 5, 2010, 06:35 PM   #14
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Yeah, time for mom to see the inside of the old folks home.

And I agree with the rest here, a face to face is the only way to speak with law enforcement about the situation.
Make an appointment and don't be late.
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Old March 5, 2010, 09:31 PM   #15
The_Vigilante
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Police Confiscated 2 Rifles When No Crime Has Been Commited

Let us know how it turns out.
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Old March 6, 2010, 12:03 AM   #16
littlmak
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A twist

I'm wondering if and when it all pans out and you clear youself with the cops, can they hold the guns until you can prove to them that Mom can't access them given her mental state?
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Old March 6, 2010, 08:30 PM   #17
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44 AMP basically covered what I was going to post.
Another thought to is, maybe let them(guns) go and buy another one or two. It would probably be cheaper than making this into a urinating contest with the police. But make sure you are not prohibited and I would do that by closely and fully understanding the doctors position on your mental health.
That is what the police are going to do.
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Old March 11, 2010, 04:08 PM   #18
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I think the high points here have already been covered, but you might also want to discuss this with your Mom's doctor. He may be able to provide info to the police (as long as doctor-patient confidentially is not an issue) to help in your case.

Yes, definitely go in person, and try not to get too emotional (easier said than done). Be calm.

Please let us all know how things turn out.

Good luck. Sorry about your Mom.
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Old March 11, 2010, 10:03 PM   #19
riverwalker76
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Don't worry! It's standard operating procedure or S.O.P. for the responding officers to a mental health domestic situation to ask if there are any firearms in the home, and to remove them for safe keeping.

If your bill of health pans out, and everything is ok you will get them back. It's just SOP and the officers are within their rights to remove the weapons. Put yourself in their shoes. Do you know how many times officers have walked into a much worse situation than yours and ended up having to defend themselves with lethal force?

Have some sympathy on the officers. They more than likely have families of their own and are just trying to keep your community safe.
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Old March 12, 2010, 04:37 PM   #20
kilimanjaro
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What were the police to do, leave the weapons in the home with a mentally-ill woman and a child?

Time to move Mother out where she can get some treatment.
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Old March 20, 2010, 04:12 AM   #21
IYAAYAS
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Heres my problem with this.

1. The police get a call, "hey my son is going to shoot himself with his gun"

2. Said police show up, detain the guy, and hold him in protective custody pending a mental evaluation.

3. Once the individual is removed from the scene, and kept in custody, he does not have access to his firearms that are his private property, in his home.

So, why confiscate them?

Once the individual is removed and in custody, thats as far as it should go. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? The individual in this case actually committed no crime at all, had yet to be evaluated, let alone gone before a judge.

As soon as you were released your property should have been returned. Never should have been taken in this case anyway, but if they didn't give it back without a fuss, or a hassle they overstepped their bounds IMO. Seek legal council, I belive your rights have been given a vacation by that PD.
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Old March 20, 2010, 02:23 PM   #22
orangello
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Updates?
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Old March 22, 2010, 02:43 AM   #23
guntotin_fool
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Seek out your county mental health board, they might have legal aid available, and they are often quite useful.
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Old March 22, 2010, 10:29 AM   #24
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Do not show even the littlest bit of frustration with the police. Be sympathetic towards your mom and very cheerful and matter of fact about your guns being returned. They are not in the business of returning guns, so you have to be a real cool cucumber to get them. Intimate that you are there to pick them up right now. If not possible then when? Date? Time?

They took them to cover their butts and had a duty to make sure that no one was hurt with a gun after they were there. Fine. They did that. Now they have a duty to keep your property in same condition as it was taken and make sure it gets back to you undamaged.

If they do their annual weapons destruction and you do not have an order to preserve property filed, you may be out of luck.

If they will not give them up the first trip to the station...GET A RECEIPT FOR THEM. That is important. They could "I'm not seeing these weapons back there, are you sure they were brought here?" Get the receipt. You may get good guys you may get thieves. Good luck
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Old May 13, 2010, 02:07 PM   #25
jaym_100
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Did you ever get your guns back?
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