Getting Your Guns Back After They Are Seized By The Police in New York

Police in New York are all too eager to seize your firearms and unfortunately recent changes in the law have made it easier for the police to seize your guns and harder for you to get them back, even when no charges have been filed.  The Suffolk County Police for example were called to the scene of a domestic incident where no one was arrested, and quickly suspended the license of the gun owner in the home.  The Suffolk County Police took the position that because charges could be filed for a period of one year the guns would not be returned for a period of one year; even though no one was arrested, no charges were filed and no orders of protections were issued.  It took an Article 78 filed in the Suffolk Supreme Court to get the County to agree to return the guns.  In another incident in another County an Order of Protection was filed against a husband by a wife as retaliation during an ongoing contested divorce.  When the Sheriff’s Office served the Order of Protection they seized the husbands guns.  Shortly thereafter, the case was dismissed and the Order of Protection vacated.  However, the Sheriff refused to return the guns until the Court signed an Order for the return of the guns and the Judge (licensing officer) reinstated his license.

New York’s New Gun Confiscation Laws

Several relatively new laws that have been added or amended in the last few years assist the police in seizing guns even when no one has been arrested.  Red flag laws or Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO) as they are also known are just one way of the police seizing firearms from someone who has not committed a crime.  We have already written about Extreme Risk Protection Orders in past blogs.  However, Criminal Procedure Law §530.14 requires a licensing officer to suspend a firearms license when a Temporary Order of protection is issued regardless of anything else.  In addition, after the Order of Protection is vacated,  CPL §530.14 requires the licensee to:  make a written application to the Court for the return of their weapons, and serve notice to the the county attorney, district attorney, the protected party under the order of protection, and every licensing officer who has issued  a firearms license to the subject of the order.

In addition, New York Criminal Procedure Law 140.10 (6) authorizes a police officer to seize weapons and firearms licenses of any person arrested or “suspected” for the commission of a family offense for a minimum of 48 hours after which if the person is not arrested, and is lawfully able to possess firearms they may apply to the Court or licensing officer for the return of the weapons.  Some police agencies are seizing the weapons for much longer.  As noted in the Suffolk County situation discussed above.

The problem is that in all cases the burden is on the firearms owner to apply to get their weapons back even if they are not prohibited from owning guns and had not been charged with any crime.  In addition once the police have possession of your weapons they have every incentive to keep them and no reason to return them.

If your weapons have been seized by the police, contact a law firm experienced in getting your firearms returned.  Our lawyers can help with the red tape and work to get your firearms returned as quickly as possible.

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