Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Police Run Roughshod Over Lawful Handgun Owner

6:00 am August 26, 2009, by Bob Barr

No good deed goes unpunished - that's a lesson George Boggs of Fayetteville,
North Carolina, learned earlier this month when he voluntarily turned his
handgun over to the local police for safe-keeping while he went into the
hospital following an automobile wreck. When Mr. Boggs (who maintains a
valid concealed-carry permit for the handgun) later attempted to retrieve
his firearm, the police said, sorry, we've sent it out for ballistics
testing and can't give it back to you yet.

Apparently the police in North Carolina believe themselves empowered to
retain a law-abiding citizen's firearm, and test it to see if it matches any
firearms or ammunition on which the police have records that were used in
crimes, regardless of whether they have any suspicion whatsoever that the
firearm is illegal or has ever been used in the commission of a crime. And,
the police do this even if the person has voluntarily and temporarily left a
firearm with the police for safe keeping. In this case also, the owner of
the handgun did not want the firearm fired because it had never been fired
since he purchased it new, and he believed its value would be diminished.

Tough luck, according to the law enforcement authorities; so long as they
get a firearm - however they get a firearm - they keep it as long as they
want to test it, and , if it matches ballistically with some record they
have, they would keep it indefinitely.

So much for property rights. So much for Fourth Amendment guarantees
against unreasonable search and seizure. And so much for being a good
citizen. When it comes to firearms, many law enforcement agencies believe
they can do pretty much whatever they want, whenever they want, to whoever
they want.

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