Thursday, April 9, 2015

Torrance, CA Police Keep/ Destroy Gun Collection

Torrance Police Dept Source
The Torrance, California Police Department has admitted liability for the failure to return a man’s firearm collection and its eventual destruction. For nearly three years, the police kept 17 firearms worth $15,800, ignored two court orders to return them, and finally destroyed the collection. The collection contained several irreplaceable family heirlooms. This high-handed arrogance will cost Torrance $30,000. 

It should have cost them much more.

Torrance resident Michael Roberts surrendered his firearms early in 2010 when a temporary restraining order was filed against him. He had become involved in a dispute with his doctor’s office staff. When the TRO was lifted, Roberts asked for his firearms. Citing Cal DOJ’s Law Enforcement Gun Release letter, Torrance PD refused. The DOJ’s letter wrongly implies that police should not return guns unless the person can document their ownership and the gun is in the DOJ’s database. The law simply does not allow those bureaucratic hurdles. Often, gun owners can’t comply, because police themselves fail to enter the firearms into the DOJ’s database, and most people don’t have receipts for the guns they own. The result: California gets to keep firearms away from its subjects. 

Gun Rights Atty Chuck Mitchel
“It’s been an ongoing problem for years,” said attorney Chuck Michel, who filed the federal lawsuit. Cities such as San Francisco and Oakland have also been sued based on the same erroneous interpretation, and those cities settled their cases and revised their procedures.” Roberts’ dilemma in dealing with a law enforcement agency that doesn’t follow the law is fairly common, said a CRPA spokesman. The NRA and CRPA expect to use this ruling to restore gun owner’s rights throughout California.
The lawsuit alleged a malicious motive on the part of the department, which willfully disobeyed judicial orders in order to punish Roberts for not yielding to Torrance PD’s unlawful registration policy. A settlement was reach for more than the value of the firearms and a requirement to change in TPD's policies. Unfortunately, it's the citizens of Torrance who will pay the bill. Although It is hard to see this as anything but theft under the color of authority, police and city officials will not personally have to answer for their wanton disregard of the law.

The citizens of Torrance might just want to take a hard look at their government: it looks to be no longer a servant, but a terrible master.     

Personal note: I've had direct experience with Torrance PD and the city's management. In my estimation, they're haughty @$$hats. 


  1. Sounds like it's time to file federal charges and name names. 18 U.S.C. 241 (Conspiracy Against Rights) and 242 (Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law) should do nicely.

  2. Unfortunately, with the legal fiction of limited immunity that our civil servants (kaff) enjoy, holding them personally accountable is a difficult matter. We proles on the other hand...

    1. Yeah, that's the unfortunate reality.

      Still, those federal statutes (especially 18 U.S.C. 242) seemed specifically aimed at our "civil servants"; it'd be difficult to make a case of you or I wielding the law like a weapon in order to deprive someone else of their rights. LEOs and prosecutors, on the other hand....

      It's an argument that would have to be brought before a judge. Problem is, nobody seems inclined to even try.

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