“Government cannot take property without just compensation and due process. The great thing is that when it comes to guns, you get protection under both amendments.”
Cherished family heirlooms were among the 21 firearms Michael Roberts surrendered to the Torrance Police Department in 2010, after his doctor filed a restraining order against him.
The court order was the result of a dispute Roberts had with a member of the doctor’s staff and, after Roberts pleaded no contest, the matter was resolved. Yet, even though he filed the proper Law Enforcement Gun Release paperwork on four separate occasions, obtained clearance from the California Department of Justice and had two court orders commanding the return of his guns, police refused to hand them over.
With the backing of the National Rifle Association and California Rifle and Pistol Association, Roberts filed a federal lawsuit in May 2014, over the $15,500 worth of firearms. In the end he got the money, but not the guns. The police had had them destroyed.
Second Amendment lawyers say his case is not rare.
“NRA and CRPA constantly get calls from law abiding people having problems getting their guns back,” said Chuck Michel of Long Beach based Michel & Associates, who represented Roberts in the case. “The state Department of Justice wrongly tells police not to give guns back unless the person can document ownership of the gun and it is registered in the state DOJ’s database. But the law doesn’t require this.”