Police Run Roughshod Over Lawful Handgun Owner

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.

154 comments Add your comment

Redneck Convert (R--and proud of it)

August 26th, 2009
7:42 am

Well, this is why I carry my anti-tank weapon and the two machine guns I use for hunting and self defense. The cops can’t test them to see if they’ve been used in a crime and ruin them. It’s pretty hard to test a anti-tank weapon after it’s blowed a target to smithereens. Same thing with a machine gun that’s fired about 500 rounds in 10 seconds.

I don’t know when guvmint people will get the idea we got a Second Ammendmint Right to own and carry guns. Even to political rallies and PTA meetings. You never know when a criminal is going to try and attack you. Some politicans and teachers are real mean.

Have a good day everybody and I hope you’re as outraged about what happened to this poor NC man as me.

Turd Ferguson

August 26th, 2009
7:54 am

Lettuce hope the one of the cops will shoot themselves with Mr Boggs gun. That would make me laugh!!

B

August 26th, 2009
8:10 am

What’s just as shameful Bob is the unintelligence people show when dealing with the gun issue. Like the people above. To them, because it’s a gun they took the moment to really deal with the issue at hand “ILLEGAL SEARCH AND SEIZURE”. It’s no wonder we’re losing our freedoms. We have ignorant people handing our freedoms away.

joe matarotz

August 26th, 2009
8:19 am

If the police found evidence of use in a crime, where does probable cause come in? A conviction brought under these circumstances would be overturned in the first appeals court that reviewed the case.

Where did these cops get their training? It must have been by reading Dick Tracy comics. Sheesh.

Davo

August 26th, 2009
8:21 am

Obamacare
We’re All Socialists Now
by Jack Hunter on August 25, 2009

http://www.takimag.com/article/were_all_socialists_now1/

“But the U.S. is not and cannot be Europe. Not because our current socialism is necessarily unsuccessful or even because the American people won’t tolerate it. We can’t afford it.”

clyde

August 26th, 2009
8:36 am

To a cop a citizen is just another suspect.The days when a cop was friendly and helpful are long past.The less you have to do with poice today,the better off you are.George Boggs knows this now.

bob

August 26th, 2009
9:09 am

This guy is stupid for giving the cops his gun.

Erik

August 26th, 2009
9:22 am

The rate that we are losing our individual rights is staggering.
What’s next, police taking your tire prints the next time you renew your driver’s license? Or perhaps they will start recording your cell phone history at airport security?

Curious Observer

August 26th, 2009
10:17 am

So, let me see if I have the situation correct. Mr. Boggs carries a gun that has never been fired. He purchased it new, and he never even tested it to see if it works–how many of us purchase a product and simply store it, without checking its functionality? Presumably, the gun is for self-protection, but the only way he’ll know if it meets that requirement will be the first time he attempts to fire it. It might have a defective firing pin, but he won’t know until he fires it, presumably at some evil-doer. And now he’s complaining that by firing it, the police will reduce the weapon’s value.

I hope I’m not the only one smelling a rat here.

Stu Strickler

August 26th, 2009
10:19 am

This is going way to far! The Police had no indication that this firearm was involved in a crime. This man trusted the Police to secure his personal protection while he went to the hospital. Mr. Boggs, please take these idiots to court and get your firearm back. It’s a very sad day when you you can’t trust the Police!

Daedalus

August 26th, 2009
10:20 am

We’ve been losing our rights long before Obama became President. Just read the Patriot Act. Bush and Cheney never saw a civil right that should not be subordinated to their political agenda. But we should only complain about Obama trampling on civil rightss, otherwise we may come to realize that we are being hypocritical.

I’m sure President Obama personally directed the cops in NC to keep Mr. Boggs gun. After all the NRA says that’s Obama’s agenda. Seize one gun at a time. At this rate Obama will have rounded all the guns up in America in about 150 years.

DeKalb Conservative

August 26th, 2009
10:22 am

Its impossible for the gun to never have been fired.

It would have been test fired in the factory (typically the gun comes with an envelop with an expelled cartridge).

DeKalb Conservative

August 26th, 2009
10:26 am

I would have expected a story like this in New York, Massachusetts or California, but not in North Carolina.

I think people need to be more educated about search and seizure. Too few people know what their rights are in these situations. Sadly, I consider myself one of these people and should get more versed in what options you have in this situation (car is likely getting towed–not a good place to leave the gun… likely you can’t bring the gun in a hospital… what option would he have? Wouldn’t there be consequences potentially if he called someone to bring the gun to his house for him?)

Stu Strickler

August 26th, 2009
10:28 am

Curious Observer, you have a valid point here. I wondered that too. I have carried a firearm for personal protection for many years, in many states. I would not carry a firearm that I have not tested and practiced with. We hope that we never have to use our firearm, but if we do, it had better do what it was designed to do without failure! When seconds counts, the Police are only minutes away.

clyde

August 26th, 2009
10:35 am

There are many commemerative firearms produced for collectors that arrive in an unfired condition.They must remain unfired to retain their value.Mr.Boggs probably had one of these.See how simple life really is.

DeKalb Conservative

August 26th, 2009
10:41 am

@ Clyde,

Wouldn’t using a commemorative firearm for carry purposes defeat the purposes? The would be like asking a pro baseball player to go on the field with a brand new glove that’s never been broken in and expect him to perform well.

In addition, I would this if it was a commemorative firearm that carrying it would devalue the firearm because of daily handling.

Anon

August 26th, 2009
10:44 am

@DeKalb Conservative — I’m going to assume you have never actually purchased a firearm due to your obviously incorrect statement that “typically the gun comes with an envelope with and expelled cartridge”. I have a closet full of guns (rifles, shotguns and pistols) and have never purchased one that came with an expelled cartridge. How could a manufacturer actually test all the guns they produce anyway? What are you thinking? People like you who think they know all there is to know about everything, even though it is outside your realm of expertise, are the ones responsible for spreading ignorance and false information. Protip: keep your comments to yourself unless they are actually valid.

dlyn

August 26th, 2009
11:00 am

Nowhere is it said he kept the firearm for personal protection. Many people keep firearms for investments and there are many that are never fired, other than factory testing which doesn’t count with collectors. Regardless, it does not justify the police abusing his trust and his rights.

DeKalb Conservative

August 26th, 2009
11:09 am

@ Anon

Sorry that I’m so ignorant. I must be suffering from Schizophrenia, or purchased a gun with a an error. My handgun came with an envelop that contained an ejected shell casing that documented the gun was test fired.

I might not know everything, but I would consider myself having more expertise than you on buying a handgun that was tested by the manufacturer since I have a first hand account and you have never heard of the concept.

proseshooter

August 26th, 2009
11:30 am

Welcome to the Peoples Republic Of North Carolina. People get the government they deserve.

YankeeDog

August 26th, 2009
11:47 am

Some interesting comments above – many of which indicate the lack of information and education the “average” person has with regard to firearms. For example, firearms should ALL be test fired before they leave the factory. Simply from the standpoint of manufacturer’s liability, this is an important aspect of quality control. The LAST place you want a critical malfunction is in the hands of the purchaser. To think otherwise is, quite frankly, naively stupid. Would you buy a motor vehicle that hadn’t had the engine started and been driven a short distance? I have purchased several firearms that were packaged with a spent casing to indicate this.

Secondly, it is ludicrous to carry a handgun for self defense with which the carrier has never practiced. That means firing the gun. With live ammunition. That’s not to say that it’s unfathomable to think someone would choose to carry a gun they had never fired, but the “collector’s value” would be degraded at least as much by holster wear as it would be by firing. I don’t know why it’s significant to the story that the owner held a concealed carry permit unless this weapon was kept for self defense. It just should make you wonder about the inherent judgment of Mr. Boggs.

And finally to Daedalus, you clearly demonstrate the kind of thinking that edifies elected officials and seems to conveniently forget that they serve at our pleasure, rather than the reverse. This is typical of the dangerous practice that allows law enforcement to violate our rights in order to protect the common good. We live in a nation founded on the ideals of individual rights and freedom; a concept our current president seems to either forget or blatantly disregard. While the Patriot Act was questionable at best, it was designed to keep the nation safe and provide for consequences to those who conspire against this country and its values. Mr. Obama all too often seems to want to punish the law abiding and successful (by outlawing firearms ownership and disproportionately taxing the affluent) to provide for the “common good.” I see a difference here, but understand that you may choose not to for your own reasons. I just think your wrong.

David

August 26th, 2009
11:52 am

To Redneck–You might want to read closley your permit, where you can carry. If you bring a gun on school grounds to a PTA meeting, you will be arrested if it is found out you have it.

Astronerd

August 26th, 2009
11:52 am

@DeKalb Conservative — Guns that come pretested come with a target showing the grouping of three shots… No empty casings. More concern is given to accuracy. They KNOW they will fire!

George Boggs was probably in an auto accident in which he was injured enough to be transported directly to the hospital. Would he be crazy enough to leave the firearm in the car unsecured or would he entrust it to the law enforcement? The same happened to me 26 years ago and, yes, when I finally got it back, three rounds were missing.

Thomas

August 26th, 2009
11:55 am

I have a 30-30 winchester and a 30-30- marlin neither have been fired.
I am not concerned about value for resale.I do know they both work as
the dent on the dead shell proves.When they do go off it will be for my
families protection.No if,no ands,no buts.

Jim's a Cherry Picker

August 26th, 2009
11:57 am

Hi Bob,

So nice job here in taking a statistically improbable and isolated event and turning it into a national conspiracy. I’d challenge you to find five more examples of this kind of activity. If you do, take that number and divide it by the estimated total number of gun owners in that town…not the state, just the town…and let me know what that ratio is.

Good luck with a task other than getting a bunch of paranoids more ginned up.

Losing our freedoms…sheesh.

YankeeDog

August 26th, 2009
11:58 am

Astronerd: You are incorrect. SOME firearms MAY include a test target to indicate POTENTIAL accuracy. Virtually ALL firearms SHOULD BE test fired. NOT ALL will include a spent casing, but SOME WILL.

BMF

August 26th, 2009
11:58 am

Redneck Convert is a douche bag. and more than likely a homo!

YankeeDog

August 26th, 2009
12:00 pm

Thomas: Sell one of your rifles and get a handgun or short barreled shotgun and practice. Unless you’re attacked by a whitetail, your 30-30 is a bit “overkill” for home defense.

Christy

August 26th, 2009
12:02 pm

Lesson learned: Do not voluntarily hand your firearms over to the police! He thought he was doing the right thing, since he would be absent from his home for a time, but everyone take note. Hold onto all your personal belongings, including guns, and allow no officials of any kind into your home without a search warrant in hand naming the exact place to be searched, the thing(s) to be searched for (4th amendment). No fishing expeditions or entering your personal residence or pawing through your personal possessions without the sworn warrant issued under probable cause. Unfortunately the younger batch of “police” officers are schooled in violating citizens’ Constitutional rights and are counting on the people not being aware of those rights. Also, unfortunately, they are mostly correct because we are not teaching our founding documents in the public school system, with rare exceptions. Let freedom ring – and cling to your guns, religion and the U.S. Constitution!

Jefferson

August 26th, 2009
12:41 pm

Fear and anger, reasons to buy a gun.

Steve

August 26th, 2009
12:50 pm

Astronerd & Anon,
I’ve purchased a couple of new guns over the years. The only one I didn’t get 2-3 spent cartridges with was a shotgun. I never got a target showing the grouping.

Steve

August 26th, 2009
12:51 pm

Jefferson,
You can add protection to your list of reasons.

Scooter

August 26th, 2009
1:05 pm

Jefferson, you forgot hunting and sport shooting.

Mike

August 26th, 2009
1:05 pm

And exactly what is wrong with this? If he’s got nothing to hide, then no worries. It could have been used in a crime prior to the current owner buying it. And a check like that could lead to a solved crime, by the previous owner.

You gun rights people are nutty.

Scooter

August 26th, 2009
1:10 pm

Mike, If he had something to hide I don’t think he would have handed the gun to a policeman. :roll:

Jason

August 26th, 2009
1:13 pm

YankeeDog and Dekalb Conservative,

Some states require that a gun be test fired and a casing be included with the firearm at purchase, but not all states. Also, the story does not give Mr. Boggs age or the date of purchase of the firearm (could have been 20 years ago before the state laws). Purchasing a gun recently does not make one an expert on all gun sales. Stating that all guns should be test fired does not mean that all guns are test fired. Also, wondering about the judgment of Mr. Boggs, whom you have never met, makes me wonder about your judgment.

Chris Broe

August 26th, 2009
1:15 pm

Bob Barr poses more questions than he answers. Did the cops fire the new gun five or six times? In all the confusion, hijinks, and revelry of firing a brand-spanking-new magnum, they must have lost count themselves. I’m trying to think of the founding-father objection that gets brought up in this legal quagmire of constitutional rights vs the ballistical privilege implicit in the act of surrendering the most powerful handgun in the world to ordnance-deprived police, (the gun so powerful it could blow your head clean off-the police so deprived they’re depraved).

The issue remains one of demagoguery. Bob Barr continues his grass-roots grasp-for-kooks (and other mindless followers) to poll for his clumsy attempt to build an anti-big bro platform. This is a card he plays over and over ad nauseam to the point where he comes across as some unwanted, unwarranted and desperately-hybrid splice of peanut gallery dregs politically situated somewhere between Howdy Doody and Dennis The Menace.

That would make him a virtual puppet in his own animated cartoon. Somehow that makes him a perfect candidate for Saudi Stooge (and thus president).

Jklol

Jefferson

August 26th, 2009
1:29 pm

Steve & Scooter — I agree on the hunting and sport shooting, protection is fear based (and not a bad idea in many cases).

I’m with Bob on this one.

Scooter

August 26th, 2009
1:43 pm

Dang Chris, who jerked your chain? Whew!

pv2bdrco

August 26th, 2009
1:45 pm

If I follow the logic…no citizen at City Hall or the Justice Buildings may be arrested or obtained if they conduct business with local authorities – ie obtaining licenses, paying water bills, acting as witness in court – even if there are outstanding warrants for their arrest, unpaid tickets or fines, or if they have been accused of or participated in a crime. Mr. Barr, you are a doofus.

Jon

August 26th, 2009
1:53 pm

1) @Chris Broe-That entire statement made no sense. We are all less intelligent for having read it.

2) In regards to the conversation about new guns being sold with spent casings. While not all states, require such, all gun manufactors (that I know of at least) test fire every weapon that comes off the line.

3) I don’t think the fact that it was in his vehicle implies that he was carrying it for personal defense. He very well could have been transporting it.

4) All of that being said, If a drug dealers stash was taken in such an illegal fashion (i.e. without warrant or just cause), the ACLU and numerous other left wing groups would be rushing the defense of the the criminal. Where are the same groups when a law abiding citizen’s rights are trampled?

Jim

August 26th, 2009
2:02 pm

Let’s roll it back by one amendment — to the First. Let’s say that the auto accident involved an investigative reporter. Let’s say it was the very best Mac Powerbook that was ever made, all decked out. Let’s say that the reporter asked the friendly policeman to hang on to his computer as he was being taken to the ambulance; after all, he wouldn’t want some bad guy to steal it.

Now let’s suppose that, when he asks for it back, the Chief of Police tells him that no, the police have sent the computer for forensic analysis of the hard drive because they want to make sure that the reporter isn’t working secretly on a story about police corruption in the city.

The American Civil Liberties Union (four lies for the price of one…) would be on it like big green flies on a fresh cow patty.

jconservative

August 26th, 2009
2:05 pm

“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.”

Bob you got this wrong. When it comes to ANYTHING, most law enforcement agencies believe they can do pretty much whatever they want.

CharlesP

August 26th, 2009
2:12 pm

MANY OF YOU ARE RIGHT!
WHY WOULD SOMEONE CARRY A GUN THAT IS NEVER BEEN FIRED! WHAT GOOD IS IT IF YOU HAVE NEVER TRAINED OR EVEN TESTED IT????

AND WHY WOULD ANYONE IN THEIR RIGHT MIND GIVE ANYTHING TO POLICE TO HOLD, WHEN THE POLICE ARE FAMOUS FOR SUCH HIGH RATES OF CORRUPTION????

IF EVER in a situation where you cannot control the weapon, UNLOAD IT AND GIVE THE AMMO TO THE POLICE. IT CAN BE REPLACED EASILY! KEEP YOUR WEAPON WITH YOU!!!

Chris Broe

August 26th, 2009
2:23 pm

Chip

August 26th, 2009
2:23 pm

Mike thinks that “You gun rights people are nutty.”

Perhaps the police should start taking DNA samples from anyone they choose to, in case that person has ever committed a rape or otherwise left DNA at a crime scene.

Would this be an acceptable practice, Mike? Or would it be nutty?

Jimbo

August 26th, 2009
2:26 pm

@Mike:

Why not let them search your car at random if you have nothing to hide? Why not let them search your house if you have nothing to hide? Why not let them take your fingerprints or DNA and store them indefinitely if you have nothing to hide? You know what, let them go through your private correspondance, email, mail, and text.. afterall, you have nothing to hide. Perhaps they should record your internet use, because no one should have anything to hide. In fact, go one step further, let’s put a program that reports back to the government on anything you do on a computer.. you have nothing to hide, right?

This is why what they police did in this situation is wrong:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The pistol is his personal effect. You guys that are quibbling over whether his pistol came from the factory with test casings or not are missing the forest for the trees. Who cares? He might have purchased a commemorative weapon and had it in the care. Regardless of his questionable habits or the value of the weapon, the actions of the police in this regard is wrong, it’s unconstitutional, and it undermines the public trust. When we can’t trust our police to enforce the laws of the land, what good are they?

Jimbo

August 26th, 2009
2:29 pm

@ Jefferson,

Protection is fear based like insurance, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits are fear based. I’ll take my fear over unpreparedness anyday.

Mutts-R-Stupid-especially-journalism-majors

August 26th, 2009
3:07 pm

Hence the pledge “they can have my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers.” Hopefully it will have an empty clip at that time….

Veryhighpower

August 26th, 2009
3:10 pm

LAW SUIT Violation of 4th ammendment rights.