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

Steve

August 26th, 2009
3:17 pm

Jimbo,
I don’t thiink we were missing the point as much as we went off on a tangent (as most these blogs tend to do).
I agree that running ballistics seems as though the cops overstepped their bounds; however, I do not know how N.C. state law reads – in terms of police officials being able to run ballistics on a gun that is voluntarily rendered to them. I’ve got a friend up there who is a lawyer I sent the question to.

DeKalb Conservative

August 26th, 2009
3:32 pm

@ Jimbo

Great way to sum this up and steer the conversation back!

I hate to be cynical about this, but this is an excellent illustration of how people need to be in it for themselves. This example undermines the constitution on so many levels.

Moving forward, how would you have handled this situation if George Bogg’s shoes and had to relive it again?

Nuther-Steve

August 26th, 2009
3:34 pm

I was in a car accident in Washington State several years ago. Cops that were helping to extricate me noticed the pack and asked if I had a permit. “Yep, wanna see it?” I answered. Nope, he said. State Patrol Trooper took me at my word, (at least at that point,) and helped get my pack off. He said it would be secured in the patrol car, and gave me a card with a number to call to recover it after the trip to the ER.

Ten hours later, I called the number and they said to meet them at one of small local offices near where the hospital was.

The troop looked at my drivers license, opened the trunk, and handed me my pouch, which appeared to be undisturbed/unopened.

At least the zipper was exactly where I’d left it. No rounds missing, and the velcro straps on the internal holster were right where I’d left them.

THAT’s the way it’s supposed to be done.

What’s wrong with what happened in NC is really simple. Unlawful seizure. Period. Doesn’t matter if it is a gun, sledgehammer or a laptop. People are too busy demonizing guns to realize the REAL threat that this action contains.

Steve

itpdude

August 26th, 2009
3:40 pm

Yet more evidence on why you don’t want to trust the police.

John D.

August 26th, 2009
3:47 pm

Oh my god, Bob Barr, Board Member of the National Rifle Association! The police actually took a few hours to test a gun to see if it was a crime gun! What an insane affront to public safety! How did this man survive for a few hours (or maybe even a DAY OR TWO) without a gun he had never even fired? This is SO SAD. Even if he owned 15 other guns, I just don’t see how he made it through this experience. I hope millionaire Wayne LaPierre was there to comfort him personally.

Billy Bob

August 26th, 2009
3:54 pm

Recently, I had a chance occasion to interact with my metro-Atlanta (not Atlanta) city’s police force. It seems my youngest son had been engaged in expressing his artistic vision on a wall neither he nor I owned. He is a good artist – really – but that judgement thing hasn’t fully developed. I am hopeful.

At 2:30 AM the police rapped on my front door and invited a sleepy-eyed Billy Bob to discuss his son’s behaviour. Both officers shined a light in my face as I eyed them through my front door glass. After confirming their bona fides I invited them in the house. They seemed perturbed but professional.

I roused my suspect, er, son out of bed and led him to the kitchen table where his inquisitors awaited. He seemed eerily calm on the surface. A short question and answer session between the officers, me and the artist led to a request for a written confession of all deeds. My son began to write what appeared to be an essay of some length. I grew worried.

When he finished writing, I took the page and reviewed it for content. No sense giving the cops any evidence if the artist was also on the grassy knoll I thought. Much to my relief, my son had limited his drawing to one small section of a wall covered with such drawings and he simply wanted to detail his crime. Artists.

I passed the essay on to the officers and they also reviewed it for content. Both were stern faced and had little sympathy for any vandalism committed no matter the skill of the artist. I concurred and assured them as did my son that such an act would never happen again – restitution would also be made to the owner of the property.

The officers noted the two or three pertinent criminal charges that levied against my son. He was a juvenile, to be sure, but criminal damage to property is never taken lightly. He was clearly shaken as was his dad.

About 3:00 AM the two officers finished up and excused themselves. As I led them to the door, one of the officers apologized for the late hour of their visit. I assured them that I understood they were only doing their job. He looked directly at me and nodded.

Later that week, I noticed the wall in question had been completely repainted by the owner. None of the drawing had been linked to any organized gang and most of the perpetrators had willingly confessed to their deeds. I never heard another word about the incident from the police.

I can’t speak to why the gentleman in your article gave the police his gun for safekeeping, but I can tell you that, far more often than not, law enforcement officers do their jobs in a professional manner. Even at 2:30 AM.

William

August 26th, 2009
3:54 pm

We know that some and I do mean a few policeman react and behave beyond their legal responisbilities at the expense of our civil rights. This should warrent investigation and litigation to remove this psuedo authority these policeman claim to have.

clyde

August 26th, 2009
4:14 pm

In North Carolina,a permit holder,when in the presence of a police officer has to notify the officer he has a concealed weapon and a permit to carry same.Apparently Mr. boggs did what was required and it appears the police maybe thought they were in Russia,or someplace where police have special powers.

r.c.

August 26th, 2009
4:20 pm

i read every comment & no one seems to know why a spent casing comes with most new handguns? it is state law in which certain manufactures resides that 2 rounds be fired through the pistol with the a.t.f. to have one round & the seller to have the other. the seller (gun shop) just usually doesn’t keep theirs. – the round goes into a database for firing pin comparison & casing mark comparison.

Mike

August 26th, 2009
4:56 pm

It is amazing to look at the assumptions that writers make in the blogs. Where in the story does it say he had been carrying the gun for any length of time. since it may have been a collectible. He may have bought it that day. Stick to the issues. Don’t try to make assumptions as to the facts, and the blogs will make more sense.

zero

August 26th, 2009
5:03 pm

go 2nd amendment & go 4th amendment (10th too…all hell, throw in the entire bill of rights!!)

i love the guncontrollers gay cry “if youve got nothing to hide, youve got nothing to fear”

ha ha, cops have a less than perfect record for integrity, brains & obeying laws they enforce.
only fairy tale believers put their faith and wellbeing in the hands of cops to protect & serve.

it should be to protect other cops and serve themselves.

Eric

August 26th, 2009
5:12 pm

Why carry a gun at all? The odds are incredibly low you’d get shot or have an occasion to shoot another person anyway. Much ado about nothing.

woodie

August 26th, 2009
5:26 pm

I totally don’t get why he’d give his gun to the police. The police are no more trustworthy than anyone. Would you give your gun to strangers? Doesn’t make sense.

Songbird

August 26th, 2009
5:30 pm

Thomas if you’ve never fired either of your guns you’ll probably shoot yourself in the foot instead of shooting whoever you’re trying to defend yourself against. Practice with any firearm is the only way to get good at shooting it. Without practicing, you have no idea what kind of kick they have or how to aim the gun to hit your target. lmao….

Nuther-Steve

August 26th, 2009
5:45 pm

Eric:
http://www.claytoncramer.com/gundefenseblog/blogger.html

John D.:

Consider the following fictional scenario:

I just followed you in to the bathroom, and after you left, I took a cotton swab and picked up a sample of your urine splatter and processed it for drug usage. How do I know it was yours? The urinal was cleaned and prepped and you were the only person to get into the bathroom.

Your test came back negative for anything.
——

Did I just violate your rights or not?

James

August 26th, 2009
5:49 pm

My Sig Sauer came with a target showing the grouping of the test fired rounds but no casings. My Ruger LCP, came with no target but did have a spent casing inside an envelope.

Johnny Bang Bang

August 26th, 2009
5:56 pm

Wow, voluntarily turning over your gun to any government entity is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. I would hide it, bury it, hang it in a tree or swallow it first. You are a potential threat to law enforcement in there eyes, plus you have a persistent hierarchy of ass kissers always trying to get promoted. These people love to make a mountain out of a mole hill. SMARTEN UP.

GunMan

August 26th, 2009
6:36 pm

Big mistake–giving a gun to the police–now he’s in their database and he’ll be scrutinized more than ever by the government and police, trying to take away his rights.

Tyler

August 26th, 2009
6:44 pm

Mr. Boggs is a retired Army Sergeant First Class, I think he knows how to shoot a firearm.

Citizen Patriot

August 26th, 2009
7:29 pm

This is yet another example of how law enforcement personnel believe they are uber-authorities to do whatever they please. Meanwhile passing out PBA cards to the family members and flashing the “Master-Shield” whenever they are stopped by the other members of the fraternity and lining their pockets with bribes and payoffs. Trust a cop, to screw ya!

Jim

August 26th, 2009
7:30 pm

Keep voting for liberals and all of our rights will go away, including the second amendment. Our current President said “I know the Constitution, I taught the Constitution and I will uphold and defend the Constitution of the US. So far, all he’s done is crap all over it. If the current administration and their cohorts in Congress have their way, the second amendment will no longer exist in four years.

Rev. Dave

August 26th, 2009
7:45 pm

Boggs must have hit his head in the accident to hand over his gun. There are police in my family, and even they tell me that the police are NOT our friends. Basically, in any situation they view any citizen as a suspect of something unless there is someone around who is more clearly a criminal than you are – e.g. call them for an intruder in your home and they’ll get it right. But of course, without your gun, they’ll only be bagging your body too, and the suspect will be long gone.

Anyway, he now has standing for a lawsuit on grounds of violating his 4th Amendment rights and maybe his 2nd Amendment rights as well. True patriots can only hope he pursues that option.

Mach37

August 26th, 2009
7:46 pm

From the information in Bob Barr’s comment, where does any of these commenters get the idea that Mr. Boggs turned over a giant magnum gun to the police? Where did they get the idea the gun was in his car, any car let alone the one involved in the accident?

By my reckoning, failure of the police to return the gun when Mr. Boggs asked for it constitutes seizure. Based on my experience with a Missouri Highway Patrolman during a traffic stop, no ticket issued, I would never trust a law enforcement officer to comply with my constitutional rights. Sure, there are good ones out there, but there must be just as many who consider anyone they come in contact with as guilty of something, if they can just find the right wedge to pry it out.

Jay6

August 26th, 2009
7:47 pm

Ever heard of putting your firearm in a box and carrying it and putting it in your safe deposit box at the bank? I don’t know about the fellow in the story, but I have friends that I would feel completely safe letting them hold on to it until I get back in action. A lot of those posting here are so anal retentive, they CAN’T have any real friends…

Cliff

August 26th, 2009
7:57 pm

Sounds like a pretty good lawsuit to me!
Hope he has sought the advice of a good attorney!

Mac

August 26th, 2009
8:09 pm

And he loved big brother.

Slip Mahoney

August 26th, 2009
8:09 pm

Sad to hear all the details of this. Absolute BIG NO NO to trust a cop. Not to say all are bad, yet here we have a prime example why not to. He should have scured it another way. Now I live in Charlotte and it appears that the police can and will do as they please and get away with it. I have had suck an encounter with them and it was very ugly. WHen you call internal affairs they really turn up the heat. We are on the verge of losing our freedoms and I hope it doesnt come to this but it sure smells like REVOLUTION to me. I wish you all well.
Slip Mahoney and the DeadEndkids

Slip Mahoney

August 26th, 2009
8:18 pm

EDIT ! That was suppose to be such, not suck ! : ) Sorry

Gregg Weber

August 26th, 2009
8:26 pm

You, a citizen of the US, meet some government worker, either a judge in robes, a bureaucrat behind a counter or desk, or a police officer of any authority. There is only one citizen of the United States of America there. You.
The other person represents the Government and has one of two paths to follow. He or she can either go down the path of civil servant and follow the Constitution, or the other path as a petty tyrant working for tyranny over the people by some future tyrant acting under color of law.

Question to all military, especially National Guard, (who are really the Militia as mentioned in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15 (Notice that the Army does not have those or any responsibilities mentioned in OUR Constitution.)):
Where is the line separating fighting for the people and Constitution against an insurrection on one side, and fighting for the people and Constitution against a tyranny acting under color of law?
I don’t want to see no Tiananmen Square over here because they just “obeyed orders”.

mikey1966

August 26th, 2009
8:54 pm

That sucks that he had to give up his pistol,Here in Michigan hospitals are pistol free zones for some strange reason ,If I got into a wreck I plan on locking my pistol in my gun locker mounted in my truck if I’m able and not hurt to bad ,I would be the only one with a key

fr8dog

August 26th, 2009
8:55 pm

When will people get it that when it comes to guns, police are NOT your friends. Why would anyone in their right mind temporarily turn in a gun to police? What did this guy go to a hospital for a Brain Transplant? GET A CLUE!!! Dont register your guns and NEVER voluntarily turn them in. “FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS!!!!

Bravo Sierra

August 26th, 2009
9:27 pm

Give the guy a break. He WAS in a car accident, and obviously gave his weapon to the police at the scene, rather than carry it to the hospital. I might have done the same thing to avoid the inevitable discovery of the weapon. Better to show the permit and hand it over than get cuffed in the emergency room and have to explain. Remember, we are dealing with an “ignorance of rights” public

The police may have a policy to check every weapon, regardless how they aquired it, even though they are breaking an amendment of the Constitution. They may believe they are doing the right thing though they are actually breaking the highest law.

So many organizations and businesses have policies that violate our rights, on top of the actual laws that are unconsitutional. It’s mind boggling.

I have more than one pistol for just such situations… My chances of getting into a car accident are so much higher than getting into a gunfight with a bad guy. But I know my pistol will fire everytime…. all six of them

Hypocrite

August 26th, 2009
9:29 pm

Bob Barr is suddenly a “protect your rights” libertarian. But as federal prosecutor, he took every opportunity to take away rights of citizens for some alleged violations of bogus federal laws. The government is not your friend. They seize power and take away rights.

lil suzy pancake

August 26th, 2009
9:35 pm

I hope this man gets a good lawyer and buys that police station-Not all cops are pigs,there are some good ones but this man is being treated as a criminal and has done nothing.I would rather take my chances in this damn country and the world than live in a police state with the gestapo running around.

Eric T.

August 26th, 2009
10:18 pm

Comments on firearms are best left to people who know something about them, so all you anti-gun readers of Atlanta Urinal and Constipation should keep your comments to yourself!

[...] Bob Barr shames the police of Fayetteville, NC who have “run roughshod” over a citizen’s rights.  [Atlanta Journal Constitution] [...]

William Tipton

August 26th, 2009
10:37 pm

“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.”
============================
Yeah wiseacre….tell this to the 13 people slaughtered in Binghamton New York a while back who THOUGHT they were in a no gun zone….certainly no one would break the law by bringing in a gun and shooting anyone (rolleyes).
Where do you people come from and what cave have you been living in ???

William Tipton

August 26th, 2009
10:42 pm

“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.”
=========================================
Exactly.
I had 357 magnum revolver I kept for self defense for two years, never fired a shot. I used other guns for practice. When I sold the 357 I still had never shot it.

It depends when the man bought the gun as far as if it had been shot at the factory or not.
Personally, Id think it had been an he just didnt know it, if it was newer.

William Tipton

August 26th, 2009
10:44 pm

“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.”
=====================================
It hasnt always been that way, tho.
The last two guns I purchased were the ONLY guns Ive ever bought that had that envelope with the spent casing.

William Tipton

August 26th, 2009
10:48 pm

“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 its not nice to assume someone is a liar without proof.
*IF* it was a collector piece he could have (very ignorantly) just been carrying it that particular day thinking he would never have to fire it where he was going.
I have a 357 Ruger I carry and I know that the ODDS are I will never ever have to fire it in self defense.
But I carry it anyway…because sometimes the odds just dont work out in my favor.
Without knowing what the man was thinking its pretty rude to assume he’s a liar.

William Tipton

August 26th, 2009
10:53 pm

“Fear and anger, reasons to buy a gun.”
==============================
yeah….it couldnt possibly be the fact that there are so many nuts out there shooting and stabbing people to death. Our wives and children dont deserve to be protected from these dirtbags…do they (rollseyes).

Common sense and being in touch with reality…reasons to buy a gun.

William Tipton

August 26th, 2009
10:55 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.”
=====================================
Lets see if you are so cooperative when they decide to send your car out to the crime lab and dont give it back for a few months.
we never know…maybe you ran down some kid last week…..

William Tipton

August 26th, 2009
11:04 pm

“Why carry a gun at all? The odds are incredibly low you’d get shot or have an occasion to shoot another person anyway. Much ado about nothing.”
========================================
Thats the same oblivious naivety that gets innocent folks killed
So the odds are that you wont be a statistic. But those statistics are made up of REAL…and quite DEAD, individuals.
Will I be one…..or wont I…..lets roll the dice and see…

Or maybe I can make sure that I have the means to defend myself and others, including my wife and grandson, in the off chance some guy drives his car up against the back door to keep anyone from leaving while he comes in the front door armed with a gun.

One thing is absolute.
*IF* this happens *I* am prepared….and you ?

.

RLWhite

August 26th, 2009
11:05 pm

Gun collectors often will purchase a gun with the intention of keeping it for its value as a commemorative item or rareity and firing it will decrease its’s value. If you plan on collecting, get a good safe as no one values your property like yourself.

DF

August 26th, 2009
11:30 pm

OBAMA BIGGEST ASS MISTAKE AMERICA.

fr8dog

August 26th, 2009
11:30 pm

Eric wrote on 26 Aug / 5:12 pm: “….Why carry a gun at all? The odds are incredibly low you’d get shot or have an occasion to shoot another person anyway….”
===================================================
Eric: You’re absolutely right. The odds ARE “incredibly low”. And adds are also incredibly low for your home to burn down: low for you to get into an automobile accident, and low for you to contract a life threatening disease or serious injury. In fact none of the above has ever happened to me. So Eric, here’s a money saving suggestion. Cancel all of these unnecessary, expensive insurance policies. The “Chances” are you’ll never need them. The only incident, unmentioned, that did happen to me was a man once attempted to rob me as I walked back to my hotel late one night. Fortunately for me, and Very unfortunately for him, in addition to all the above mentioned insurance policies, I also carried insurance for this unlikely possibility. It’s issued by “Glock” Insurance Co. (Policy # .45). Perhaps you’ve heard of it.
Eric the IGNORANUS. Turley an amusing guy…… LMAO

1911

August 27th, 2009
12:12 am

If you think there is a 4th Amendment Right in this country you are delusional. Cops can make your life miserable with impunity. It won’t be too long before there are fingerprint & DNA records for all. I’ll guarantee that if Boggs died his estate would never see that gun again.

DDBELLE

August 27th, 2009
3:17 am

Well, it’s time a female weighed in on this subject. I carry a purse, and I would never hand it over to anyone if I were in an accident. Why not have a backback that one could put personal items into in case of an emergency, and carry it with them wherever they go. I would be outraged if someone in the hospital, or wherever, tried to go through my purse or backpack. Maybe we need a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for cases such as this. Yes, I carry, for my own personal protection, and feel more comfortable doing so. And, I have gone through the NRA-sponsored course to learn the safe handling of a firearm. At the time I owned a .38 revolver, and found out at the course that it was “too much gun for me” so I sold it and bought a .22 Walther which I can handle confidently. No, it wouldn’t do as much damage to a perpetrator, but I think I could knock a gun out of someone’s hand with it. I can’t believe that in a place such as Luby’s cafeteria in Texas that no one had a gun. They were all just sitting ducks, waiting to be shot by the maniac. All of these places that say no guns allowed probably don’t have one on the premises to protect the patrons. There are even shootings in churches now days. I would hate to be innocently worshipping my Lord and be shot because no one in the church had a gun. I think the greatest issue with gun owners is their lack of knowledge of the gun and their inexperience. I was one of them prior to the NRA-sponsored course. After taking the all-day course, I felt that anyone that purchases or owns a gun should be required to take the course, in the same way that we are required to learn to drive safely before getting behind the wheel of a car – another potential weapon. I have so much more confidence now with a gun, and I learned to aim and shoot accurately. What a concept! I probably could never have hit anything with the .38 anyway. The course was wonderful, and I encourage you all to take it the first chance you get, unless you already know all about gun safety and accuracy. I would hope that Rep. Bob Barr would use his influence to make this change. So, I too got a little off on a tangent, but had much I wanted to say. I don’t feel this would violate anyone’s rights, any more than one’s rights are violated by having to be licensed in a state to drive a car, so please don’t get in an uproar over this. I felt so much better after the course, and I think it would benefit everyone. And, my husband feels much better now that I don’t wave my gun around when talking about it. It is important to know how to responsibly handle a gun. Now I am afraid of gun owners who don’t know how. So, I have to protect myself against them too??

Robert Leonard

August 27th, 2009
6:50 am

What a mope! NEVER turn your handgun into a law enforcement officer. Your right to keep and bear is protected by the constitution. End of story.

Santana Moss

August 27th, 2009
7:08 am

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.

You got that right Bob. Try going through the day brown or with an accent. Every beer bellied bubba with a badge wants to see papers. This is not America anymore. At least the land of the free part.