Understanding Gun Seizure and Returns
May 2, 2023
As a firearm owner, it can be unsettling to think about the possibility of the police seizing your weapon. However, there are certain circumstances in which law enforcement officers have the authority to take possession of citizens’ firearms.
If your firearm was seized by federal law enforcement or local police, you need to understand gun seizure and return procedures. As a gun rights attorney at Redmond Law Group, I can explain the laws pertaining to gun seizures and make sure that you are informed of your legal options throughout the process. From my office in Troy, Michigan, I serve gun owners throughout Macomb and Oakland counties.
Why Are Firearms Seized?
There are five scenarios in which the police can legally seize your firearms:
1. You Are Suspected of Committing a Crime With the Firearm
One of the most common scenarios in which the police can seize your firearm is if you are suspected of committing a crime with it. This includes using a firearm to threaten or harm someone or using it to commit a robbery, burglary, or other criminal acts.
2. The Firearm Is an Illegal Weapon
In cases where the firearm in question is an illegal weapon, the police can seize it without a warrant or your consent. Illegal weapons include firearms that have been modified in some way that violates firearm regulations or those that are not registered. Certain weapons are also prohibited under Michigan state law: silencers, mufflers, automatic weapons, machine guns, armor-piercing ammunition, as well as short-barreled rifles and shotguns.
3. You Are Subject to a Restraining Order
If you are subject to a restraining order, the police have the authority to seize any firearms that you may have in your possession. This is done to prevent you from using the firearms to harm the person who filed the restraining order against you.
4. The Officer Has Reason to Believe Your Possession of the Firearm Is an Immediate Threat to Yourself or Others
In situations where an officer has reason to believe that your possession of a firearm is an immediate threat to yourself or others, the officer can seize your firearm. This may include cases where you are visibly intoxicated, agitated, or otherwise displaying behavior that suggests you may use the firearm in a dangerous or reckless manner.
5. The Firearm Can Be Used as Evidence in Criminal Court
Finally, the police can seize your firearms if they believe that the firearms can be used as evidence in a criminal case. If the firearm was used in a crime, for example, it may be seized as evidence. Alternatively, if the firearm is connected to a criminal suspect, it may be taken to help build a case against that person.
Who Takes Guns Away?
Federal law enforcement agencies are authorized to seize firearms under certain circumstances. These agencies typically investigate crimes and have the authority to seize firearms that are evidence in a criminal investigation for federal law violations.
On the other hand, local police have the authority to seize firearms that are involved in a crime or are believed to be a danger to the public. For example, if a gun owner is arrested for a violent crime, their firearm may be seized by local police. In addition, if a gun owner is deemed to be a danger to themselves or others, local police may be authorized to confiscate their firearms temporarily.
Can You Get Your Gun Back?
If your firearm has been seized, you’ll want to have a gun rights attorney represent you during the process. The first step is to determine why your gun was taken away and whether it was by federal law enforcement or local police. If it was seized as evidence in a criminal investigation, it may be returned to you after the investigation is complete, though there may be some conditions that must be met to get your gun back. However, if the gun was seized due to a violation of federal or state law, it may not be returned to you.
If you believe that your firearm was seized unlawfully, you can challenge the seizure through the court system. This entails filing a motion to challenge the forfeiture of your firearm with the appropriate court.
Understand Your Rights
Gun seizure and return cases can be complex and often involve legal nuances that can be challenging to navigate. As a gun rights attorney at Redmond Law Group, I can help ensure that your rights as a gun owner are protected and that you have the best possible chance of getting your gun back. Reach out to my office in Troy, Michigan, today to seek professional advice.