Woman who did nothing wrong has gun confiscated, long delay getting it back

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- There’s an unusual gun battle playing out in communities across Colorado. A Loveland woman whose gun was taken after a traffic crash in Fort Collins has been waiting for two months to have the gun returned.

The delay is related to a new gun law that has to do with the transfer of a firearm. It turns out, even the police cannot return a gun to its owner without approval from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation after a background check requested by a licensed gun dealer.

Sara Warren knows all about the law now. She cleans houses for extra cash and carries a gun for safety. She hasn’t seen her Ruger SR9 handgun since March 26, 2014. “It’s been very, very frustrating,” she said.

She was on her way to Fort Collins for a job bid, but never made it to the house. She was in a car wreck that sent her to Poudre Valley Hospital. That’s where a report says a paramedic gave her purse and firearm to security at PVH.

Fort Collins police interviewed Warren and took her gun pending a toxicology report. On April 15, her firearm was authorized for release. Since then, she’s been waiting. “I have missed out on work,” she said. “I’ve been calling the police station every now and then, asking if they’ve figured out a way to give it back to me.”

Fort Collins Police issued this statement: "Fort Collins Police Services has instituted temporary measures and is working to find a permanent solution in order to comply with the law."

That law now requires a background check by a licensed gun dealer for any firearm transfer. Fort Collins Police plans to do Warren’s transfer on Wednesday, May 21, 2014. That is two months after her weapon was first seized.

“This law was passed last July. They should have had this figured out by now,” Warren said.

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said this is why he and more than four dozen other Colorado Sheriffs are suing the state over the 2013 gun control laws. “What happened to Sara is exactly the danger in the way this thing is written,” he said.

But, Sheriff Smith says Larimer County hasn’t had this problem returning property because they’re going directly through the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. “They told us, send the information to us and we will conduct the NICS check.”

As for why it took Fort Collins police so long to return Warren's gun to her, the department wouldn’t say, only that it was advised by the Fort Collins City Attorney on how to enforce this new law. The City Attorney said its advice is confidential.


  • 13tweeter13

    It seems that the paramedic illegally transferred the firearm to a security officer who illegally transferred it to the police, unless the law allows the paramedic and the security guard to transfer firearms while denying duly sworn police officers to transfer firearms, particularly transferring them back to their lawful owners after a records check has been done. Colorado voters, are you proud of the idiots you elected to office? We legalize marijuana (where there’s nothing in the Bill of Rights that gives citizens the right to possess the substance — it’s also illegal to possess under Federal law ) and confiscate a firearm that the owner is legally allowed to possess (a Constitutional right). .

    • Anonymous

      You have a very valid point. This is when I’m going to going to go buy 10 glock 19’s so I know I always have one in the glove box. Wouldn’t you say it would also be illegal to hand your firearm over to a police officer during a traffic stop without a cbi background check.

    • kfng

      You’re right the bill of rights doesn’t mention marijuana but the bible tells me that God gave us all the seed bearing plants. Unless you’re saying the bible is wrong.

  • schotts (@schotts)

    The state legislature (read: Democrats) was warned, several times, about how bad the universal background check law was written, how unenforceable it was and how it will create unintended problems. Did the Democrats listen? Nope. They had Mike Bloomberg bucks stuck in their ears.

    This situation creates a point I have been making and educating those less informed. As the article indicates, CBI can run a NICS check without involving a licensed dealer (FFL) if given the information. A simple GO / NO GO is all that is needed to let a seller know if a prospective buyer is prohibited or not.

    A FFL is not needed to meet the desired intent of “expanding background checks”. An FFL will require the buyer to fill out form 4473 in the process which includes the who, what, where and when regarding the buyer and the firearm being transferred. FFLs are required to keep these records for at least 20 years. If the FFL goes out of business, ALL 4473 must be turned over to the ATF which will hold on to them forever. The ATF can likely get their hands on any and all 4473 of a particular FFL if they really want them, beyond a standard audit.

    Is the picture clear yet?

    Gun control advocates call for “expanding” background checks. They propose universal background checks with requires a FFL and form 4473. This policy/law, over time, is a Trojan horse.

    It is a gun registration scheme marketed under the notion of keeping guns out of the hands of bad guys.

    #copolitics #gunsense #2a #nra

  • Dale Gross

    Why should a background check by the CBI or even the FBI be the gold standard? Call the CBI, and they will tell you it is not their responsibility to ascertain the validity of information given them by other law enforcement agencies. And only a few years ago, 50% of the FBI’s files were not up to date. We have 50% more laws on the books now when compared to 25 years ago. When will the citizens finally get it and say enough is enough. An infinite number of laws will not make us any safer, only poorer (and more than likely less safe). Quit listening to whiny law enforcement folks. And let stupid politicians know that you don’t think they are super cool when they pass new laws that they pass to make voters think they are super conscientious about your safety.

  • PaleoSapiens

    Too bad most do not know ‘The Law,’ as in the Common Law. Point to the human (man for short – gender neutral by definition) who stole your ‘property’ in open court (court of record) and require that it be immediately returned.
    Skeptical? Try a little history. Nuremberg, 1945-1947 – every man is responsible for their actions. If a ‘code’ (lower form of law) causes harm to man…it is null, void, of no effect, and UNLAWFUL. In other words, bureaucrats following or enforcing a code causing harm are personally liable for their actions and have NO immunity…

    Stop playing the ‘code’ game. It is rigged so the ordinary man looses. Every time you step into public, you’re doing something ‘illegal’ – live with it. However, if you’re doing no harm to another or their property, you are following ‘The Law.’
    Take back your (God of Nature) given natural rights, which no government, of any sort, as a right to interfere with. Hold the clueless individual(s) responsible. Once these bureaucratic knuckleheads start loosing their pensions and paychecks, a lot of stupid acts, codes, policies, regulations, etc., will go unenforced…look up Karl Lentz, UnKommon Law.
    This stuff is fairly simple to figure out but, difficult to carry out. It’s because, individually, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE…

  • Tony Montana (@galactictruth)

    First it was taken ILLEGALLY the paramedic had no right to take it and the security had no reason to keep it. GUNS ARE NOT ILLEGAL.
    Second it is not being ‘transferred from one owner to another’ it is stolen property that needs to be returned.
    Cops STILL don’t understand their own ‘job’ they aren’t taught basic reasoning only scare tactics….

  • Test

    There is no excuse for this. I emailed EVERY single Colorado legislature with a warning about this kind of scenario before they voted for it. They did this to us on purpose.

  • Test

    This is not the only flaw in the law either. People with special needs family members need to be able to store their firearms at a friend or family member’s house without the law interfering. Kefalas, Ginal, thanks for nothing …. again…..

  • Daver

    Heather Mills at Fox. Please interview the sponsors of this bill for their reaction. Are they in favor of charging the paramedics and security officers who illegally touched the gun?

    • John

      Smith has common sense and understands upholding the Constitution. What you wrote here makes NO sense at all!

  • Robert Posner

    Technically, this was not a transfer, as ownership was not transferred. If it were a true transfer, than the transfer to the paramedic and to the police was too. Common sense should prevail here. Her gun should never have been “transferred”. It should have been held for safety, considering the circumstances, and immediately returned upon her hospital release.

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