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bkt 09-26-2010 02:43 PM

Tennessee Firearms Confiscation
 
Here is the original source.

Naming names: 2nd update on the gun confiscation incident in TN
September 24, 2010 by alarmrideratl

As promised, here is an update on the situation I posted about a few months ago in which an RTC’er was harassed and had two of his guns confiscated by the TN highway patrol as he travelled from the 4-19 rally in Virginia back to his home state of Colorado. Below is from the victim himself (hyperlink added by me):

My name is Dan Howley and as you have requested, here is a summary of what happenned to me in Tennessee on my way home from the Restore The Constitution Rally at Gravelly Point Virginia.

As we (my Wife and I) were travelling through Tennessee, we were stopped by a Tennessee State Trooper (Officer Michael Loftis, Badge #331), because the tinting of the windows on our vehicle was too dark. After checking my license, registration and insurance and verifying that they were up to date, Officer Loftis then asked with no probable cause, if I had any drugs or weapons in the car. I told Him no drugs, but that I did have a pistol in a locked box, locked in the trunk of the car. Officer Loftis asked me if I had a permit for the pistol, and I said No, that permits were not necessary in Colorado except for the CCW. His response was that we weren’t in Colorado, we were in Tennessee and that in Tennessee, permits for handguns were required. (Permits to “CARRY” handguns are required in Tennessee-but there are NO permits required to POSSESS handguns, rifles or shotguns in Tennessee).

Officer Loftis then told me to exit the vehicle and open the trunk. After I complied and opened the trunk, Officer Loftis could plainly see that it was EXACTLY as I had said. Officer Loftis then told me to unlock the guncase and then told me to step away from the vehicle. I informed Him that the reciept for the pistopl was in the guncase and I reminded Him that no permits are required in Colorado exept for the CCW.

Officer Loftis asked me where I was coming from, and I told Him Washington DC. Officer Loftis asked me, “What the heck would you want to go there for?” So, I explained to Him that I work for a radio station (Freedomizer Radio), and that we were covering the Tea Party Rally in Washington DC on April 15th, and the 2nd Amendment Rally at Gravelly Point, Virginia on April 19th. Officer Loftis then asked, “Oh, you mean that park that’s right across the Potomac from Washington?” And I answered with “Yes.” Officer Loftis then asked me “Why would you take a handgun to an event like that?” And I answered ” the 2nd Amendment Rally at Gravelly Point was an ‘open-carry’ rally, and since I believe in the 2nd amendment, even though I was with the press, covering the rally, I wanted to show my support to the participants, by wearing my firearm as well, but that the handgun NEVER entered Washington DC, It stayed in Virginia which is an ‘open-carry’ State”

Officer Loftis then took the guncase and it’s contents back to his car to check it out. When He returned, He told me that He was going to have His dog check out my car and if His dog indicated that there were drugs present, Officer Loftis was going to search my car.

At that point I informed Officer Loftis that there was also an un-loaded rifle in it’s case in the trunk. He wanted to see it as well. I pointed to where He could locate the case, and when He removed the un-loaded rifle from it’s case (AK-47 semi-automatic rifle), Officer Loftis said “You can’t even have one of these!”. I reminded Him that, yes you can, and that I bought it from the same store that I bought the pistol at, and that the reciept for the rifle was in the pistols’ case as well.

Officer Loftis then brought His dog, and the dog hopped up with his forepaws on the rear bumper, sniffed the trunk briefly, and lost interest, the dog then walked over to the passenger window, hopped up with his forepaws on the door, sniffed at my Wife, and lost interest, then the dog walked around to the driver-side window, hopped up with his forepaws on the door, sniffed andlost interest, and then the dog returned to Officer Loftis’ vehicle and got back in. In spite of His dog’s apparent lack of interest, Officer Loftis claimed that His dog indicated that there were drugs in the car and that He was going to search the vehicle.

With no mention of my being under arrest, or that I was being detained, Officer Loftis then searched me, and found nothing, then Officer Loftis told my Wife to exit the vehicle, and He searched my Wife (can He do that?) and He found nothing, then Officer Loftis searched my Wife’s purse and found nothing. About that time, Officer Loftis’ partner showed up (His partner was down the interstate about 1/2 mile involved with another motorist), and Officer Loftis had his partner search the trunk and our luggage, etc. Officer Loftis searched the passenger portion of the vehicle and found nothing except for the “Restore The Constitution” plackard that I had obtained at the rally, and spent quite awhile perusing over that plackard. The Younger Officer, Michael Robertson, found the ammunition for the rifle, (approx 1100 rounds) which was still wrapped in plastic and in a box and separated from the rifle which had been in it’s case, and the search was over. Officer Loftis asked me why would I be carrying that much ammunition in my car and I told Him that there were rumors afloat that, at the 2nd Amendment rally, some really bad people were likely to show up and cause problems of Dangerous or even Life-Threatening Proportions, and that IF that were to happen, and IF the Law Enforcement Officers in attendance were “Overwhealmed” by an attack of that magnitude, I felt it was my “Civic Duty” to stand with and assist the Law Enforcement Officers in any way that I could. But no trouble presented itself, so the rifle and the ammunition STAYED IN THE TRUNK, and was on it’s way back home to Colorado, PEACEFULLY. Officer Loftis was at that point, going to take my property and write me a citation, but He didn’t even know what to charge me with. So He called His Sergeant out to where we were, and His Sergeant told Him to charge me with Un-Lawful Possession of Firearms (2). So, that’s what they did. I was charged with Un-Lawful Possession of Firearms (a handgun and a rifle) and my property was consfiscated.

I was given a citation for Unlawful Possesion of a Firearm, a Reciept for the Property that was confiscated, the Store Reciepts for my firearms, My Rifle Case, and a warning for the tinted windows, and then I and my Wife were allowed to leave and resume our travel back to Colorado.

This is the chronological order of what happenned and what was said to the best of my reccollection. I hope this was helpful and useful information, and by all means, if you have any questions, please feel free to call me at any time. Thank You for Your Time and Thank You for Your Interest.

Sincerely,

Daniel (Dan) Howley


More to follow. All I have to say right now is that Loftis’ middle initial appears to be “G”

Update 9-25 11;30 PM:

Has not a hornets’ nest been stepped on here?!?
____________________

Tennessee doesn't require a permit to own or be in possession of either a handgun or long gun. There were three cops involved with this and either none of them were aware of the law they are tasked with enforcing, or they engaged in outright theft. My hunch: they knew the law, but assumed Mr. Howley was not aware of local laws, and they probably assumed he would not bother to return to Tennessee to appear before a judge with a lawyer in order to get the charges dismissed and have his property returned.

Mr. Howley's only failing here was not having printed copies of the laws of all the states and counties he would be driving through.

A similar thing happened near me not long after the Virginia Tech shootings. A student at the Rochester Institute of Technology was living off-campus in student housing and was in possession of an AR-15 and a few hundred rounds of ammo. Another student blew him in, the guy was arrested and had his stuff confiscated. Naturally, the local paper reported he had an "arsenal". The cops even said they weren't sure if his firearm was legal or not and that they would let the District Attorney work through that technicality. WTF?

c3shooter 09-26-2010 02:51 PM

IF this was as described, actions of the police officers are a violation of Federal law. The Peaceable Journey act.

CA357 09-26-2010 03:19 PM

This is very bad. Unfortunately I don't know the legal bullsh*t that is involved.

I thought we were allowed to protect ourselves while traveling? Isn't that one of our most basic rights? I know states have different laws, but this seems arcane.

orangello 09-26-2010 03:35 PM

That does suck and sounds like another example of some dumbarses giving the general LEO population a bad reputation, IMO.

Without PC to search the trunk, shouldn't this all get kicked out of court fairly simply, though not necessarily quickly.

I do wonder about the odds of those dashcam recordings being available.

bkt 09-26-2010 03:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by orangello (Post 357703)
That does suck and sounds like another example of some dumbarses giving the general LEO population a bad reputation, IMO.

Seems like some in the LEO population are doing the heavy lifting on creating the bad-rep issue. When those who step in it are summarily dismissed, my appreciation for LEOs will kick back up to where it has customarily been.

Quote:

Originally Posted by orangello (Post 357703)
Without PC to search the trunk, shouldn't this all get kicked out of court fairly simply, though not necessarily quickly.

Yeah, but at what expense? The guy has to take time off work to drive back to Tennessee and hire an attorney to make sure it gets done right. After all is said and done, and this b.s. is thrown out of court, the officers in question just go about their daily affairs with no consequences for their illegal search and seizure.

Quote:

Originally Posted by orangello (Post 357703)
I do wonder about the odds of those dashcam recordings being available.

Sure, having as much evidence as possible to shine a light on what happened is always a good thing.

Looking in the comments section following the article, the guy DID get his stuff back. His expenses were about $1000 and he was not reimbursed.

orangello 09-26-2010 04:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bkt (Post 357714)
Yeah, but at what expense? The guy has to take time off work to drive back to Tennessee and hire an attorney to make sure it gets done right. After all is said and done, and this b.s. is thrown out of court, the officers in question just go about their daily affairs with no consequences for their illegal search and seizure.


Sure, having as much evidence as possible to shine a light on what happened is always a good thing.

Looking in the comments section following the article, the guy DID get his stuff back. His expenses were about $1000 and he was not reimbursed.

I agree with you completely; i faced similar inconvenience and expense on a BS & out-of-state ticket once (speeder was passing me with unsecured infant, LEO must've confused us :rolleyes: ). I, like most probably would, fumed and then just paid the small fine rather than missing work on a Tuesday (only day they have court) and driving a few hours out of my way. No offense to the honest LEO's stuck working traffic enforcement, but that is exactly what i expect when i am out-of-town traveling, and i do my best to run with the herd and keep a low profile. edit * It occurs to me that, had this guy been a criminal (like a pothead), he would've probably been expecting such treatment and wouldn't have brought the firearms or ammo. He probably would've had the sense to keep the dark tint rolled down, as well. I guess we should all act like criminals trying to keep a low profile when we travel.

I was joking about the dashcam; i run my own many times and don't feel like i could depend on the other side to incriminate themselves in such a situation. At least he got his stuff back, hopefully in decent condition. I wonder, could he file suit against the department to recover his expenses? Somehow, i find that extremely unlikely to work out in his favor.

Biohazard2 09-26-2010 04:19 PM

Having been raised in the south, all I can say is;

"Ya ain't from around here are ya boy."

DrumJunkie 09-26-2010 04:37 PM

The Tenn. LEO should have a lot more to worry about than things like this. The pain pillbillys runnign from Fla. north are a real issue. I'd imagine that was what they where looking for to begin with and where upset that the gangster ride with the dark windows was clean. More and more this kind of stuff is being reported. Maybe if there wher repercussions for the officer(s) involved in such things they might try more about real offenders.

dog2000tj 09-26-2010 06:31 PM

If this story is as described, how is it that these 3 LEO's are able to remain on the job? :confused:

spittinfire 09-26-2010 06:58 PM

The sad thing is that he handled this in arguably the best manor possible and still got screwed.


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