NY gun owners seek to halt police confiscations

Two civil cases are currently challenging the constitutionality of a pistol permitting scheme which allows a county police department in New York state to revoke a person’s license and confiscate their firearms at will.    

Both suits were brought against the Nassau County Police Department and seek a preliminary injunction to halt the practice allowed by “portions of NY Penal Law 400 which give pistol licensing officers discretion to issue, limit, suspend, revoke or deny permits as they wish,” attorney Robert Bean told Guns.com in an email.   

Marc Weinstein, a former paramedic with the New York Fire Department who was badly injured during the 9/11 terrorist attack there, had his guns confiscated by police on Feb. 25, 2014, after getting into a shouting match with his adult son. His firearms were later returned to him, Bean said.   

According to court documents filed in U.S. District Court for Eastern New York in the case of Weinstein v. Krumpter, the plaintiff sued the police chief and at least three of the officers who appeared at his house to collect his firearms, Guns.com previously reported. In doing so, he sought the return of his guns, valued at $100,000, and $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages in addition to ending what his legal team called a policy of confiscating all firearms in response to any domestic disturbance call.

Bean said the police illegally collected his client’s firearms without probable cause or a warrant and violated his Fourth Amendment rights, which protect against unreasonable search and seizure. Bean further argues the police department infringed on Weinstein’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

The other suit, Carroll v. Krumpter, involves another such case of police overstepping their authority, Bean said. Andrew Carroll came home from work one day in September 2014 and noticed one of his firearms was missing. His mother, who lived in the same house in a basement apartment had taken the gun because she said Carroll owed her money.

According to the complaint, she lied and said she sold the gun, but really just hid it in the house. Upon hearing she sold the gun, Carroll called the police, worrying about who may have it. When police arrived, they demanded Carroll’s mother give them the hidden firearm. After a search of the rest of the house, police also confiscated Carroll’s other two firearms.  

“We expect Carroll to get his guns back within a few weeks,” Bean said. “The question then is whether the clients continue to pursue the cases at their expense.”

Guns.com verified that Bean set up an account on popular crowdfunding website GoFundMe.com, which has only raised $1,755 since being set up more than two months ago. Bean said he needs $10,000 for discovery and deposition expenses.   

The defendants rejected claims that they violated the plaintiffs’ Second and Fourth Amendment rights, further stating they performed their duties “in good faith, without malice, and with reasonable and proper cause in the ordinary course of their duties as such peace officers … of the defendant County of Nassau,” according to court documents.