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I've often wondered what all happens to someone's weapon if/when it is used in a self-defense situation. Specifically, what do the various LE agencies throughout the nation do with someone's weapon after such an incident and assuming, of course, that the intended victim is cleared of wrongdoing. I am especially inviting comment on this from Forum members who are current, former or retired LEOs.

A little background: I encountered a Trooper with the Ohio State Highway Patrol a few days ago and asked him about this. He stated that most likely, the Patrol would take the weapon and hold it pending resolution of the case. Following this, and assuming the intended victim is cleared of wrongdoing, the weapon is returned to the rightful owner. If unreturnable for any reason, the Patrol destroys the weapon. He also informed me that they do not mark, etch or otherwise deface the weapon, but tag it while held pending the outcome of the investigation.

On the other hand, I work with a retired Sheriff's Deputy Captain who told me it was his department's policy to etch the Deputy's initials, date, and any other pertinent info directly onto the weapon. I asked him what happens when the owner is cleared of any wrongdoing. He shrugged, grinned and replied the defaced weapon is returned to the owner and the attitude is "Oh, well... too bad."

I've read at least one post in the Forum wherein some members carry high-end Colts and if the weapon is confiscated in a self-defense situation the potential loss would be well worth it. I suppose this is fine if one can afford it and granted, protecting life at any cost is well worth the price of a firearm. But I'd hardly want my high-end Colt returned to me permanently defaced by a LE agency. I've also read a Forum post that if a CCW holder in NY is involved in this type of situation, that person's permit is suspended AND all handguns are confiscated pending disposition of the case. My imagination runs wild when I think what might happen, especially for NY firearms collectors.

My employer's position in this matter is that if we ever have to use our weapon in self-defense, we are to hand it over if so asked by a LEO and further state that "Yes, I will sign the criminal complaint" against the perp. I'm OK with this, since my employer has plenty more weapons to issue in the interim.

What about all this? Is there a common thread in how various LE agencies deal with these situations? Myself, I'm thinking I will retire my Colt to the safe and carry something else concealed. Something reliable, replaceable and cheaper than my Colt.

Comments, please?

Major Dad
 

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THIS is exactly why I carry a GLOCK G30, the pistols sold with no pride of ownership included. IF I ever have to use the cops will take it and I'll just go buy another [ actually I do have another one , a G20 ]. It has about as much importance to me as my clawhammer or my snowshovel, all bought for about the same reasons if you think about it.
 

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The agency I retired from just attaches a bar code sticker to a plastic tag placed on the weapon, Officers are not allowed to make a permanent mark on the weapon, back in the late 70's or early 80's an office did scratch his initials etc. onto a weapon, the department ended up paying the owner for the damages so that practice was forbidden.

One other thing that happens to these weapons, they are not stored in the best manner that a gun owner might prefer. They are hung on lock racks but due to the volume of weapons taken in it is common for weapons to be touching each other or bang against one another when weapons are taken in or out of the hold. Also if any tests are to be run on the weapon such as treated for latent fingerprints, chemicals are placed on the weapon that I wouldn't want placed on mine. Also if the weapon is to be tested for ballistics then the weapon will be fired.

My department would return weapons to the owner once the matter was resolved and the owner was still legally allowed to own it. If they were not they can obtained the necessary paper work to have the weapon transferred to someone else.

Weapons not claimed are cut up into pieces and then scrapped.

All in all I would prefer if I had a weapon held it be something I was not emotionally attached to. In a perfect world it would be great if the weapons were treated properly but you have to remember the amount of evidence that a police department takes in a year, the storage space required and the testing that is required.
 

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It is my understanding that an illegally discharged/carried/displayed firearm is confiscated pending the results of an investigation. The result/finding of the investigation determine if the property/firearm is returned to the owner/family or kept by the P.D. for destruction/sale.

This example is gruesome but relevant to your topic. A few years back I purchased a group of firearms that included an anaconda from a ex-wife who's ex-husband had unfortunately committed suicide with the anaconda. The anaconda was confiscated at the seen and then released to the executor of his estate (his ex-wife) after the cause of death was determined and the investigation closed.
 

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In New York they pull all of your guns and start license revokation actions immeadiately after the event happens.If and when you are cleared you have to get a lawyer and fight to get your guns back to you.NY is a VERY GUN UNFRIENDLY STATE.What gets even scarier is if you are the victim of a crime and had to shoot in self defense you are a perfect target for those who want to do you harm because YOU ARE TOTALLY UNARMED.It is just the way it is here and if I used one of my guns to save my life I wouldn't care because I would still be alive.
 

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Cruiser, always great input but sounds like you are stuck in a NY pickle being a gun enthusiast . You can always move out west and keep your gun on the dashboard to help avoid conflict. Actually they will still take your gun out here but you would get it back, eventually, per my CCW instruction.
 

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THIS is exactly why I carry a GLOCK G30, the pistols sold with no pride of ownership included. IF I ever have to use the cops will take it and I'll just go buy another [ actually I do have another one , a G20 ]. It has about as much importance to me as my clawhammer or my snowshovel, all bought for about the same reasons if you think about it.
Well said.
 

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It is my understanding that an illegally discharged/carried/displayed firearm is confiscated pending the results of an investigation. The result/finding of the investigation determine if the property/firearm is returned to the owner/family or kept by the P.D. for destruction/sale.

This example is gruesome but relevant to your topic. A few years back I purchased a group of firearms that included an anaconda from a ex-wife who's ex-husband had unfortunately committed suicide with the anaconda. The anaconda was confiscated at the seen and then released to the executor of his estate (his ex-wife) after the cause of death was determined and the investigation closed.
Not to hijack the thread but to share a similar tale: My father-in-law bought a Nylon 66 that a wheelchair bound son used to kill his sexually abusive father. The investigation determined that the son was justified in his actions having kept a diary, neighbor & family member testimony and the dropping of all charges. The rifle was returned to the son but he couldn't bear to keep it and sold it to my FIL. That little rifle is one of the most accurate .22's I've had the pleasure to shoot.
 

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Even here in the state of NJ where they make it so very hard to be a gun enthusiast, if a gun legally obtained is used in a self defense situation, and the gun owner is justified in that use. The gun will be returned after the investigation is complete. However as stated prior in this post sometimes the law enforcement agency storing the gun is not going to treat the weapon as the owner would, so there might be some damage to the weapon from handling and storage.
 

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I once had a Ruger that was confiscated from the original owner in some sort of a domestic issue. The gun itself was in perfect condition, but the box was not shown much respect.

 

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Well said.
THIS is exactly why I carry a GLOCK G30, the pistols sold with no pride of ownership included. IF I ever have to use the cops will take it and I'll just go buy another [ actually I do have another one , a G20 ]. It has about as much importance to me as my clawhammer or my snowshovel, all bought for about the same reasons if you think about it.
+1. Same pistol, same attitude.
 

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THIS is exactly why I carry a GLOCK G30, the pistols sold with no pride of ownership included. IF I ever have to use the cops will take it and I'll just go buy another [ actually I do have another one , a G20 ]. It has about as much importance to me as my clawhammer or my snowshovel, all bought for about the same reasons if you think about it.
Same reason I carry a Taurus .38 snubbie. Nice gun but they made hundreds of thousands of them.
 

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Also, I was a superintendant for a construction company and I did a job at fedral building where I was in their work shop in the basement, and I saw a 35gal drum full of guns cut in half by the band saw sitting next to it. I was shoked! I think one of them was an Ithica coach gun. Made me sad.
 

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At my old PD here in Utah, any gun used in a shooting, defensive or offensive, would be confiscated.
If offensive the gun would be held until proceedings were complete, after which it'd be disposed of (destroyed).
If defensive the gun would be held until proceedings were complete, and if no charges against the owner it'd be returned.

Re the idea of carrying a cheap gun just because you may lose it temporarily during a court process, I find that incomprehensible.

I carry a quality handgun that's set up to be the most effective package I can get it into to defend my life.
My primary 1911 is not fancy, but it'd cost close on $2000 to replace.
It's been built to meet my needs for efficiency.
I have two others in the same boat. None were built as showpieces, none were built to make me feel a sense of pride in owning or carrying them, none were built as jewelry, none were built to be trendy, none were built to make me cool in carrying one. All were built as defensive tools, the most efficient & effective (by MY reasoning) for MY situation.

The odds are in my favor that I'll never need to use it, but if I do & survive it will have paid for itself and accomplished its purpose. Even if I lose it or it comes back slightly defaced.
If I ever do need to use a handgun in defense of my life, it will not be based on a "How Much Money Am I Willing To Lose On Defensive Equipment" paradigm, and it most certainly will not be a Taurus .38 based on that "low bid" reasoning.

In saying this, I'm not advocating the 1911 for everybody & I'm not knocking the choice of a Taurus .38 if that's the best you can afford.
In a sense, this type of reasoning is roughly akin to the concept of buying a Lexus or Lincoln & never taking it out of the driveway because you may get it crunched in an accident, driving a $500 scooter instead.
In the case of the defensive tool, obviously the stakes are much higher, but equally senseless to me. :)
Denis
 

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Denis, I have got to ask. A $500 Glock is somehow inferior to your $2000 1911? Not that I have anything against $2000 1911's but really?
 

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A close friend was involved in a road rage incident in 2008 here in Central New York. Despite his assailant having SEVEN DWIs and two orders of protection against him, my friend was arrested for menacing. Forced to stop on the road, he displayed his handgun, not aiming it at anyone, and the situation ended.

The local cops took not only his handgun, but also two pre-64 Model 70 Winchester rifles which were locked in the bed of his truck. Plus, they seized his truck and kept it for nine weeks!

He quickly arranged to have a local dealer take his 15 or so handguns, all of which were listed on his CCW Permit, thus saving them from the horrors of a police metal locker. They would have confiscated them as well.

About two years and $6000 later, he demanded a jury trial and was ACQUITTED of all charges. It took him months to get his guns back--you should have seen what the cops did to his collectable Winchesters! Scratches and dings all over them--they had been mint examples.

After months of wrangling with the local DA's office and Judges, his CCW Permit was returned to him--with restrictions!!

He'd had a full carry permit and was now restricted to hunting and target shooting activities. That was two years ago and he's still fighting to get his restrictions removed.

Here's a tip you might want to remember: if you are involved in an altercation, call 911 immediately!

You see, the person who calls is the "complainant" or "victim", and the one who doesn't call is the "suspect", regardless of who was righteous and who was not. This was my friend's problem--he thought the incident was over--until he was in the beam of the million candlepower helicopter searchlight and spread-eagled in the road.

The police did not investigate--they simply took the word of the seven-time loser (they never checked that out either) and arrested my friend. A statement by a witness was interpreted to imply that the witness was frightened by my friend's actions. In fact, under cross examination, she admitted that it was the seven-time loser that she feared---and he was a friend of hers.

After the trial, the jurors said that they were "terrified" being in the presence of this criminal and returned a not guilty verdict in 20 minutes.

I teach criminal justice at a four-year college. My goal is to turn out intelligent, thoughtful, fair, and capable police professionals. I have many friends who are police officers, both active and retired, and I was once a cop myself.

I just feel like shaking some of these officers and saying, "Do your due diligence and use your head! Question and investigate!"

Going through this whole thing with my friend, and seeing him try to deal with the police, prosecutors, and judges, the overriding attitude that I observed, unfortunately, by these professionals, was arrogance.

Justice. Right.

Tim
 

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Ratzo,
Nope, you're missing the point. :)

It's not a matter of "superiority" between the 1911 & a Glock. As I said quite clearly, I was not advocating a 1911 for everybody. This is also not a matter of "my gun's better'n yours".
It is not a brand war, it is not a caliber war, it is not a snobbery war, it is not an "I gots more money than you do" war, and I also said quite clearly that the example of the 1911 I gave was FOR ME WITH MY NEEDS & CIRCUMSTANCES.

The point is that I do not understand selecting a defensive tool, the one single device that may keep your butt out of a body bag, based on "Geeze, I don't wanna lose too much money if I have to actually use it."

If the Glock fits you well, you shoot it well, it carries well, it gives you confidence, and THOSE are the selection criteria YOU use for your defensive shield, that's great. If your sole reason for selecting the Glock as a carry gun is that it's cheap, I don't see it.

I have carried Glocks over the years & occasionally still do. None of the 7 I own were chosen because they're cheap & I wouldn't lose much if one were confiscated.
Can we move past that?

I also own three defensive shotguns.
Each was customized FOR MY NEEDS, and none were the cheapest I could find so I wouldn't lose much if used & confiscated.
Each was set up for maximum efficiency FOR ME, because if I ever end up dead while using one it won't be because I went low bid on it.
All three cost a fair bit more than a stock shotgun, but less than fully tricked out guns favored by some.

And before somebody else mentions a good 'ol basic beady-eyed 870 or a $150 Chinese pump is all you really need, it may very well be all YOU need, but it ain't all I really need. :)

And, nothing here is meant to say an adequate defensive gun has to cost two grand, or one grand, or have any set price.
I'm just saying I find it impossible to understand the reasoning behind the low bid approach in trying to save your life.
If it's all you can afford, that's understandable. If you can do better (AS A GENERAL PRINCIPLE, NOT REFERING TO GLOCKS SPECIFICALLY) & improve your odds of survival but refuse to on the off-chance you may lose money in saving your life, I don't see it.
Denis
 

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After reading about New York, lets just say Im glad to live in Kansas. And I still havent figured out whats wrong with an 870 wingmaster LOL. Shot them for 40 years in the worse kind of elements and nastiest duck marshes in the US and never had one jam or fail in any way. Ive had Model 12's, model 37's, and cheapo Model 500's, and the 870 was still the best of the lot. Heck that old 870 can smell a duck its so reliable and I think in self defense a guns reliabilty is the key along with the guys nerves thats pulling the trigger.

But then thats MHO
 
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