Thursday, August 14, 2008

Crime Guns.

When I had my motorcycle accident years back, the Atlanta Police Department wound up in custody of my Glock 29 and Beretta Tomcat, as well as the Ruger Vaquero I was taking home from work at the time. I believe the initial stolen gun check went something like this:

Police officer (in E.R.): "Are these guns stolen?"

Me (on gurney, still no morphine): "ooowwww...No.o.oOOOOOOOWWWW!"

I'm sure they did something more formal involving at least running the serial numbers through the NCIC to see if they'd been reported stolen but, push come to shove, when it came time to get my guns back from the City of Atlanta, it was as simple as giving my ex a notarized letter to take down to the cop shop.

Fortunately, they weren't... Crime Guns. You know "Crime Guns", right? Those are the scary things involved in murder and mayhem, used in drive-bys and found by cooling bodies; referenced by the media in breathless phrases like "Data from the government shows that 25% of all Crime Guns yadda yadda yackety schmackety." Those Crime Guns must be an evil thing, no?

Yeah, well, let me tell you what the definition of a "Crime Gun" is: It is a gun that the ATF has run a trace on. The reason that the ATF would run a trace on a gun is because a police department has come into possession of the firearm when its owner was charged with some crime or another. On a good year for busting stockbrokers, there are probably a lot of Perazzi doubles that get traces run on them.

This year, the number of "Crime Guns" of the bucks-up custom 1911 persuasion is going to be high by at least one. That's because the Gallatin, TN Police Department took custody of a 1911 from someone who was guilty of the heinous crime of... well, nothing, actually. Unless being on the wrong end of .gov clerical errors is a crime now.

He still hasn't got his gun back. When he does, he'd better keep a close eye on it. It's a Crime Gun now, and you know how dangerous those Crime Guns can be.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this common with other seized properties? I mean the long delays to process or is it unique to firarmes. Carry permits are some times an extended process for the background check. I doubt that the check thats performed for criminal susspects is as thorough though?

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Anonymous,

No, it's widespread. There are stories abound of crime checks taking months on combs and iPods.

Anonymous said...

Tam to the white courtesy phone. Tam to the white courtesy phone. El Jefe would like a word with you.

the pawnbroker said...

if atf ran a trace on ccc's 1911, let's hope he didn't buy it at wal mart; if so and he ever tries to buy another firearm there i'm afraid he'll be blackballed...

http://poetnthepawnbroker.blogspot.com/2008/04/were-watching-you-too-wally.html

so now he'll have a crime gun; and in the kingdom wallyworld, i guess he's what? a crime guy?

jtc

the pawnbroker said...

actually ccco says he didn't buy it new, so whoever did? if it was at wallyworld, he's/she's the crime guy/gal...

jtc

DirtCrashr said...

This is how spontaneous combustion starts, just one spark from a HOT crimegun.

Canthros said...

dirtcrashr: I heard that a crimegun was responsible for the Challenger disaster, and that another one actually steered the Titanic into that iceberg.

Matt G said...

Oof.

If the facts are are as ColtCCO reported them to be, then the Gallatin P.D. is holding a person's property without evidence of a crime.

They must not be aware of the trouble that N'O'leans P.D. is getting into for just that.

MOST police departments run a quick Check For Stolen, and, in absence of any crime, give it back to the rightful owner when the present proof of ownership. (in their case, they took the damned gun off of him, and aren't charging him with Theft Of A Firearm, so he apparently had legal possession of it, which would tend to be good enough to return it to him with simple affidavit if he had not 4473 or receipt. Which he does.)

As I told him in comments-- the thing to do at this point is to send in a public records request for any and all info, and to send a polite but direct letter to the police chief explaining that he wants his property back, in the absence of a criminal case against him. Send also the copy of the 4473 and the letter from the state licencing bureau, with the paperwork from the court showing the case to be dismissed. Most chiefs will look at that, and realize that this ain't a hill worth fighting over. Most.

As an aside, I documented an actual crime gun yesterday, and it was frankly a rarity: some idjit thought that taking target practice with a crappy (is there any other kind?)old RG10 .38 Spl. at an occupied residence of someone they didn't even know would be a good idea. He went to jail, was charged with a crime, and the gun was locked up as evidence. Of a crime. That he committed. With witnesses and a confession, and everything. Now that's a "Crime Gun," if ever I saw one, yet I doubt that a full-blown "ATF Trace" is going to be done on it. It gets checked for stolen, period.

Matt G said...

As an aside, I will mention that the only time I ever ran a full ATF trace, it was for a bona fide stolen gun, and it took the BATmen months to... turn up nothing. Very, very frustrating.

Anonymous said...

It's part of the mind set the ATF uses ... "Always Think Forfeiture" that appears to be in play.

Persistence will pay off I hope.

Gmac

Kristopher said...

Someone in the Galatin PD wants a new M1911.

He won't get it back until he gets a judge to bitchslap them ... hard.

the pawnbroker said...

well...if they keep it long enough, it'll seem like a free gun when he gets it back...

http://poetnthepawnbroker.blogspot.com/2008/05/i-got-free-gun-today.html

different circumstances, but...

jtc

Scott said...

Wow.

Did you get your guns back, Tam? Based on my experiences with APD, I'd try to drag my bleeding carcass into another jurisdiction before I'd call 911.