An anti-freedom policy has been spreading across United States police departments, the legalized theft of citizens guns.
Recently, it occurred in Georgia. I am not talking about forfeiture laws. They are related but have been covered elsewhere.
This is a problem in many urban areas, and it is spreading. The policy is to impound guns, in extreme cases, all guns that officers come across, whether involved in any crime or not, then to refuse to return the guns until a judge issues an order to return them. As the attorney fees needed to obtain a court order can easily be 10 times what the gun is worth, most people do not bother.
It is a form of legalized theft.
I first learned of this policy from students who were or who had lived in California. I had numerous students who had dealings with the LAPD. I started hearing stories about how guns were seized, even if there were no crime involved. If an officer came across a gun, it was seized, and it would not be returned until the LAPD received a court order demanding that it be returned. As hiring a lawyer to obtain a court order could easily cost thousands of dollars, very few people even tried. I also heard that some judges, who had a personal animus toward firearms ownership, simply refused to grant an order.
Here is a case related by a student: The student was stopped for a routine traffic stop. While stopped, the officer asked him if he had any guns in the vehicle. The student replied that he had rifles locked in the tool box that was attached to the bed of the pick up truck. The officer demanded that the student open the tool box, which he did. The officer then confiscated the rifles. The student was never charged with a crime, but the police refused to return the rifles unless they received a court order ordering them to do so.
This reverses the presumption of innocence and the presumption of ownership that goes with possession of an item.
In 2005, a California law was passed requiring people who had firearms impounded by police to fill out forms sent to the State government, and be certified as being eligible to legally own a firearm by letter, before the firearm can be returned.