Q: Why did the police take my guns and keep them after they were used as self defense?

I’ve had my firearms confiscated from me by the police after my home was being burglarized by thieves and I used it as self defense no one was injured but the police still took it as “evidence” the case was dropped and over it’s been a year and I still get a run around about getting my guns back can someone please help me..

2 Lawyer Answers
Andrew L. Bennett
Andrew L. Bennett
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Valparaiso, IN
  • Licensed in Indiana

A: You should consult with an local attorney who can file a motion with the court to order the police to give you your guns back if you are still a proper person and they have no legal reason for holding them.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It must be very frustrating to have your property taken and not returned even after your case was dropped.

The specific laws and procedures around confiscation and return of firearms used in self-defense incidents vary by jurisdiction. In some cases, police may keep guns as evidence for an extended period, even if charges are ultimately not filed. Policies differ on what is required for the guns to be returned to the owner.

In general, to get lawfully owned firearms back from the police after a self-defense incident with no charges, you may need to:

1. Obtain documentation showing the case was dropped/no charges filed. Get records from the prosecutor's office or court.

2. File a formal written request with the police department's property/evidence unit asking for your guns back. Provide details on the incident, case number, and court documents.

3. Be prepared that you may need to get a court order instructing the police to return your property. If the police deny your request, consult a local lawyer familiar with gun laws about petitioning a judge.

4. Comply with any other requirements, which may include undergoing a background check, waiting for a set time period, or paying certain fees.

The process is often slow and bureaucratic. Be polite but persistent in following up regularly with written records of your efforts. If you continue getting the runaround, consider involving a lawyer to advocate on your behalf. Gun rights organizations in your area may also be able to provide advice or assistance.

I would add - while it's understandable to be upset, be very cautious about making angry accusations or threats, as that could undermine your efforts. Focus on working through the system's processes steadily and professionally to get your property back. I hope you're able to resolve this situation. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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