At various times, ammo prices could be reasonable or it could be ungodly expensive. With inflation as it’s been, it sure seem to be leaning a little more to the latter camp.
But ammunition is important for gun owners because without it, a gun is nothing but a poorly designed club, which is less than ideal.
It’s also why some states are trying to control it even more tightly than firearms themselves.
In Florida, though, it seems that at least one department has a method that might just minimize their costs on ammo. They just don’t return ammunition to law-abiding citizens when their firearms are given back.
Confused a bit? Lee Williams has the story over at The Gun Writer.
It starts with a unnamed man who wishes to remain anonymous. He was confronted by a man in a threatening manner. A fall let to a discharge that hit no one, but the confrontation continued for quite a ways until Florida City, Florida police arrived.
His gun was taken and the other man was got a 72-hour mental health hold.
So far, no biggie. It’s what happened after the man was cleared of any charges.
It took 68 days for FCPD’s investigation to conclude. The victim was not charged with any crime.
When he went to the police department to retrieve his property the ammunition was gone. The department’s property clerk, Krishen Boodoo, told him the ammunition was confiscated.
“We don’t return ammo,” Boodoo allegedly said. “The department will probably use it for training.”
This policy, one expert says, is patently illegal.
“To be clear, this is theft and it’s also a preemption violation,” said Jacksonville attorney Eric Friday, a firearms law and Second Amendment rights specialist and general counsel for Florida Carry, Inc.
Florida’s powerful preemption statute declares that only the state legislature can regulate firearms. Any public official who violates the law can be removed from office and face fines of up to $5,000, which they must pay personally,
Law enforcement unlawfully confiscating firearms, ammunition and personal property is an “awful issue statewide,” Friday said.
“I just filed suit against the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office over a similar issue last week,” he said.
Ammunition is lawfully owned property and if the firearm itself is being returned–meaning there’s no charges pending for criminal actions–then there’s no reason to not return the ammo as well.
Now, there are circumstances where the police can confiscate private property under the law. It’s called civil asset forfeiture. It’s a controversial law that allows the police to confiscate money, cars, boats, and so on, then sell the goods and pocket them money. Or, they can keep it.
Yet that only works if they try to allege that the property in question was used in a crime. Since the returned this individuals firearm, they’d be hard-pressed to make the case that the ammo was used in a crime when the gun wasn’t.
Now, the chief in Florida City has changed the local policy, which is good news. However, he also says that he doesn’t know how long the previous policy was in place.
Which means tens of thousands of dollars of ammunition may have been taken from law-abiding citizens and disposed of by the department.
Whether it’s a preemption thing or just a terrible and abusive policy all on its own, this is the kind of thing that shouldn’t be tolerated. Especially considering that good defensive ammunition generally isn’t cheap and if you shoot something like 5.7, it gets even more costly.
I’m glad the policy changed, but there needs to be ramifications so the policy changes elsewhere as well as providing a disincentive for a return to the bad old days.