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BalduchiLaw Office, PC June 12, 2024

Understanding Gun Seizure and Returns

Federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies have the authority to seize your firearm in several situations. Unfortunately, many gun owners are not aware of their rights when it comes to gun seizure, which is why sometimes firearms are seized unlawfully.  

And when your firearm – or other property, for that matter – has been seized by the authorities, it’s not always easy to get it back. The criminal law attorneys at Balduchi Law Office, PC, understand the procedures for returning seized guns and help gun owners in Des Moines, Iowa, and surrounding areas reclaim their firearms.  

With over three decades of combined experience, the attorneys can leverage their extensive knowledge of the legal system to increase your chances of getting your gun back.  

When Can Your Gun Be Seized? 

Contrary to popular belief, your gun can be seized even when you aren’t convicted of a crime. Let’s explore five main reasons why law enforcement might confiscate your firearm:  

  1. You are suspected of committing a crime with the gun. If there is suspicion that you have committed a crime using your firearm, authorities will likely seize it as part of their investigation. This can include any type of criminal activity, from armed robbery to assault and battery. The gun will be held as evidence and thoroughly examined to determine its involvement in the alleged crime.  

  1. The gun is an illegal weapon. Owning illegal firearms, such as unregistered guns or those modified to function as automatic weapons, will result in immediate seizure. Laws vary by state, but federal law strictly regulates certain types of firearms. If your gun falls into a prohibited category, you can expect it to be confiscated. 

  1. You are subject to a restraining order. If a restraining order has been issued against you, especially in cases involving domestic abuse, you may be required to surrender any firearms in your possession. This measure aims to protect potential victims by reducing the risk of firearm-related violence.  

  1. Your possession is an immediate threat to others or yourself. In situations where your possession of a firearm is deemed a threat to yourself or others, law enforcement can seize your firearms to prevent potential harm. This may occur during mental health crises or any circumstance where law enforcement perceives an imminent danger. 

  1. The gun can be used as evidence in a criminal case. Even if you are not directly involved in a crime, your gun might still be seized if it can serve as evidence in a criminal case. This includes scenarios where your firearm matches the description of a weapon used in a crime, or if it has been found at a crime scene. 

Many people run into problems with the law because they don’t understand their right to use a gun for self-defense in an open carry state like Iowa. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding can result in both avoidable criminal charges and gun seizure.  

Who Can Seize Your Gun? 

Your firearms can be seized by federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Federal law enforcement agencies are typically authorized to seize guns that can be used as evidence in a federal criminal investigation. Most often, firearms are seized by either state or local police departments. This may occur when the gun owner is facing criminal charges under their state’s criminal law, their possession of the firearm may endanger themselves or others, or someone files a restraining order against them. In most cases, firearms are seized when law enforcement officers search the gun owner’s home or car. For this reason, it helps to know when you should let the police search your car and your home and when you shouldn’t.  

Can You Return Your Gun After the Seizure? 

Once your firearm has been seized, the process to get it back can be intricate and depends on the reason for the seizure. 

  • Criminal cases. If your gun was seized as part of a criminal investigation, you would typically need to wait until the case is resolved. If you're found not guilty or the charges are dropped, you can petition for the return of your firearm. However, if you're convicted, the firearm may be forfeited permanently. 

  • Protective orders and “red flag” laws. For firearms seized under protective orders or red flag laws, which permit state courts to order the temporary seizure of firearms, you would need to go through a legal process to demonstrate that you're no longer a threat to yourself or others. This often involves court hearings where you can present evidence and argue your case.  

  • Legal disputes and mental health orders. In cases involving legal disputes or mental health orders, the return of your firearm usually requires a court order. You may need to provide evidence that you comply with all relevant regulations and are fit to possess a firearm. 

If your gun has been seized, you might want to get the assistance of an attorney who would walk you through the process of getting your firearm back. Ideally, you should contact an attorney as early as possible to prevent situations where your firearm is seized unlawfully. If this happens, your attorney will take the necessary steps to challenge the seizure.  

Trusted Legal Guidance to Get Your Seized Gun Back

The criminal law attorneys at Balduchi Law Office, PC, work diligently to protect the rights of their clients to own and bear arms. That’s why the law firm can become your trusted ally when your gun has been seized and you want to get it back.  

Their lawyers will develop a strategy tailored to your circumstances to reclaim your gun in accordance with the law. With an office in Des Moines, Iowa, the law firm also serves clients in Polk County and surrounding counties. Schedule your free consultation today to find out how the team Balduchi Law Office, PC, may be able to help you.  


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