Tennessee Firearms Confiscation

Discussion in 'Legal and Activism' started by bkt, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. bkt

    bkt New Member

    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.


    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?
  2. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

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

  3. CA357

    CA357 New Member Supporter

    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.
  4. orangello

    orangello New Member

    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.
  5. bkt

    bkt New Member

    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.

    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.
  6. orangello

    orangello New Member

    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.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2010
  7. Biohazard2

    Biohazard2 Active Member

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

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

    DrumJunkie New Member

    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.
  9. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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

    spittinfire New Member Supporter

    The sad thing is that he handled this in arguably the best manor possible and still got screwed.
  11. M14sRock

    M14sRock Active Member

    This is the way of the future in many jurisdictions. It is common here in SoCal, especially with the new breed of officers. They will do anything to get guns "off the street". Officers have been known to wait outside the shooting ranges waiting for people to leave. Then they pull them over to see if their guns are being transported in accordance with the law.

    The EXACT same scenario happened to me, as happened to the guy in the OP, but I was arrested and charged. My guns were unloaded, in locked cases, vacuum sealed in plastic, and separated from the ammunition. All done above and beyond the letter of the law here in CA, but the officer lied on his arrest report.

    My arresting officer falsified his police report, and only admitted it to the City Attorney under direct questioning. BUT she only agreed to ask him if he lied after I told her I wanted to go to trial, would spend whatever it cost to make it happen, that I would put the arresting officer on the stand under oath, and that I had a witness who could back up my claim. (And the fact that she knew, trusted and respected my attorney because they had worked together at the same firm years before). Luckily for me my witness was the LAPD Watch Commander at the Division where I was booked. If not for him backing me up they would have pushed for a 6 month sentence, $10,000 fine and confiscation of my guns. He was one of the old guard. And I was not willing to be intimidated into pleading guilty to any charges and giving up my right to a trial.

    I presented the City Attorney with 30 letters of character and professional reference from active LAPD officers, retired LAPD officers, local PD officers, Federal Agents, prominent public figures and others. I presented her with my professional accreditations and history with law enforcement. None of it mattered to her.

    It cost me over $4500 in legal fees, 18 months of drama, and eventually the case was thrown out. I even got my guns back, which NEVER happens in L.A.

    But it would have been a different story if my witness had decided not to do the right thing and back me up.

    It was pure intimidation from the start.
  12. orangello

    orangello New Member

    Damn it is good to be in MS sometimes. To the best of my knowledge, i can legally transport a firearm in my car; of course, i don't know if every LEO stuck on traffic duty has that same understanding.
  13. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

    Unfortunately I find that this is the tactic most often employed by LEO's here in the northeast, especially in and around NYC. Lucky for me I realized that this is also the same tactic most often employed by cowards, I will not be intimidated.

    I'm glad things worked out for you in the end. I doubt back in NY it would have gone that way. Hell, my own cousins husband, a retired NYPD asked me if it was legal to own an AR10 when I first got mine last year. I mean really, he did 20yrs on the job and has no idea what he's talking about. Yet it's perfectly alright for him to carry whenever he goes out even though he's no longer on the job. :confused:
  14. dunerunner

    dunerunner New Member

    This is sad and I hope not indicative of Law Enforcement across the country!

    What is the Safe Journey Act? I'll have to look that one up!

    I am surprised that when advised that this individual was with the press that the LEOs didn't back off. They had to know this would get written up and that the guy would probably file suit (which if he hasn't contacted NRA or GOA, he should).

    This type of harassment has to friggin end!! :mad:
  15. M14sRock

    M14sRock Active Member

    If I was in NY (or anywhere else) I would have followed the NY laws, just as I was following L.A.'s laws. I was pulled over randomly, and cooperated fully.

    I was NOT in violation of any laws, and when confronted with the proof (and his own admission) that the arresting officer falsified his report to say that I WAS (in violation) the City Attorney chose the prudent path and dropped all charges. She knew I was not intimidated, and intended to spend $100,000 in my defense if need be. But mainly I think it was my insistence that I would have both the arresting officer (and his partner) called to the witness stand, along with the Watch Commander who saw what happened and was willing to verify my story. And maybe the other officers present as well as the jailers who booked me and thought it was all BS.

    I also explained to her in no uncertain terms that immediately after I was found not-guilty, I would be filing false arrest charges, police brutality charges (the handcuffs were put on me so tightly that I had cuts all the way around my wrists on both hands, (to the bone in one place), even though I was 100% compliant) as well as conspiracy charges because of the number of officers and City Officials who knew the truth but still urged prosecution.

    I must say, the most satisfying part of this was getting my guns back. I walked in to the LAPD Division and the OOD (nice guy) asked me if he could help me. It told him I was there to pick up my guns and he started laughing. I showed him my court order for the release of the guns and he said, "Man I want to see this!" So he walked me back to the property room where the property manager told me "We DON'T give guns back!", and I replied to him "THIS time you do!" and gave him the court order. He had never seen one, and had to call the judge to verify it. Priceless. But then I had him and the Officer accompany me out to my car where I put the guns, and ammo, right back where they had been when I was arrested. Then I waved to them, and drove off.

    But what would have happened if I had not had the financial ability to hire a good attorney? Or had lost my cool and been charged with some trumped up charge? Or buckled to their intimidation and pled down to some lesser charge instead of fighting it?

    And, if "ignorance of the law is no excuse", why doesn't that apply to officers who arrest or intimidate people like the guy in the OP? When they are the ones who are "ignorant of the law" they should pay a price.
  16. DrumJunkie

    DrumJunkie New Member

    I'm not all that sure about the Safe Journey Act....

    More and more I'm hearing about more LEO acting like this guy did In Ohio where I lived (Cincinnati) LEO will about call out a SWAT team if you have a weapon with you. I have a friend still there that their only real reason for getting a carry permit was because she was getting shook down many times when leaving the range. She would get told that it is considered concealed having a weapon in your vehicle, even in the trunk. Some friends here in Ky. that live in more populated areas say they're starting to see it more now. LEO have enough to do as it is. I just don't see a need to look for more trouble to get in. I've always respected LEO for the job they do but it's getting harder when this kind of stuff is going on.
  17. FreedomFighter69

    FreedomFighter69 New Member

    Wtf !!!

    If anyone was breaking the law it was those dumb *** cops ! Usually the southern states are pretty liberal about firearms but if you were going through a small town that was the problem. Many small town depts. north and south are on a power trip and don't necessarily abide by state rules. If I were you I'd get a lawyer and fight this injustice ! You haven't done anything wrong. Call the NRA, they will help you and represent you if and when you take it to court.
    You'll get your firearms back too . Stories like this make me sick ! The laws need to be changed for legal citizens who want to own and carry guns.
    Good Luck my friend, I hope you can get your firearms back !
  18. 556plinker

    556plinker New Member

    I am amazed at the restraint he exercised! It would have been my luck to run into a couple of morons like that. I've never run across an unprofessional police officer before and I have dealt with alot of them but just like any vocation I am sure they are out there. I echo a previous poster who stated that it would be prudent to have a hard copy of the gunlaws to point out to a potential goober if the need arises. What else can you do?...going ballistic is definitely out. All of the LEO I know are adamantly pro-gun and would never behave that way. A true professional would know and understand the law. These guys weren't it.
  19. collegekid20

    collegekid20 New Member

    Can you please elaborate on the safe journey act? I've searched for it and come up with nothing.
  20. Swampbilly

    Swampbilly New Member

    From the book, "Traveler's Guide to Firearms Laws in the Fifty States"...for Tennessee :

    Firearms Ownership : , unrestricted, no permit or license required

    Black Rifle Ownership ("Assault" Rifle) : unrestricted, no permit or license required

    Machine Gun ownership : no state restriction, compliance with federal laws only

    Firearm law uniformity : preemption law, cities prohibited from creating new laws

    Right of Self Defense : castle doctrine, right protected by statute

    Open Carry : prohibited unless one possesses a permit to carry a handgun

    Concealed Carry : licenses granted on a "shall issue" basis; automatic recognition for non-residents with carry permits from ANY other state

    Vehicle Carry & Transportation : firearms must be unloaded and in plain view or secured in commercial gun cases anywhere in the vehicle

    If the victim truly transported firearms as described, the officer was clearly in violation of the Tennessee state laws. I do not buy into any story that the officer was ignorant of the laws...he knew them, just didn't give a damn and was out to pursue an agenda.

    He lied about the Tennessee state firearms laws

    He lied about his dog identifying on drugs in the car, in order to effect a search

    The whole notion of "probable cause" in this country is becoming a joke, as time and time again, police are demonstrating the willingness to fabricate any blatant lie they have to in order to stop or search a vehicle.

    I also want to say this...all of that discussion of having been to the Second Amendment Rally, etc. etc. - TMI - shut up !!
    When stopped, ANYTHING you let pass your lips is just more information a cop will use AGAINST you...NOT to your benefit.

    There should have only been 3 things this person should engage in discusion :

    Why have you stopped me?

    Am I being detained? If so, why?

    Am I under arrest? If not, then may we go?
    No? Go back to number two and repeat...are we being detained, and why.

    It was smart to carry copies of the receipt of ownership. Some States are using this as a reason to confiscate guns, if you cannot show a receipt - it is still illegal behavior for tehm to take it, but some are doing it.

    There is getting to be a more fine line between the police and the crooks and thugs...and the punks in black robes back at the court house don't help either.

    I remember a time when we had Peace Officers...now we have Law Enforcement Officers. Surely there are still some reputable, honest officers out there, but over the last 15 years or so there has been ever increasing "Us Against Them" (the public) attitudes from officers and militarization of police forces.

    It is not good to read stories of law abiding citizens being harrassed and theft by officials being committed.

    On the 1100 rounds of ammo in the trunk. Yes, I know technically that was not illegal. BUT...I think that is an amount of ammo that will surely draw negative attention to you. Let's be realistic folks...what trouble was this person going to get into that would warrant 1100 rounds of ammo??

    And when questioned about it...all of the talk about possibly needing that much to defend himself at the Second Amendment Rally and aiding police officers during some potential catastrophe - again, TMI, shut up ! NOT necessary to dig yourself a hole with all of this additional discussion. I'm sure all of that rhetoric just made him sound like the "gun nut" the biased media portrays gun owners to be.

    He should pursue this legally and get this resolved. The sad part about it is even if he wins, these bad cops just go about their business with no reprimand, and the court will insult him by making him pay court cost. With bad law enforcement like this, this crap would change if when a citizen won, their legal fees had to be fully reimbursed by the state and NO court cost paid. Even if you win, you are punished financially by the system for doing nothing wrong.

    The Justice System in this country has become less about justice and more about the system.


    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010