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The OP is specific to "found firearms".

Please show an example of a found firearm being turned over to the finder in CA!

As I recall in the western states I'm familiar with, firearms are the exception to the rule of finders claiming found property.

See post #21, change "found property" to "found firearm".

Regards,
A firearm is still an item of "property" as used in the statutes.

There is no informational reporting service that collects data on property returned under Civil Code 2080.3. I did not personally encounter any request for the return of a firearm during my time in LE service. But I know well from that service, that compliance with the statutes is required.

California law makes no special provision for found firearms. Civil Code section 2080.2 applies to found firearms, just as it does to any other item of property.
 

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A firearm is still an item of "property" as used in the statutes.

There is no informational reporting service that collects data on property returned under Civil Code 2080.2. I did not personally encounter any request for the return of a firearm during my time in LE service. But I know well from that service, that compliance with the statutes is required.

California law makes no special provision for found firearms. Civil Code section 2080.2 applies to found firearms, just as it does to any other item of property.
Apparently the jurisdiction where I worked did!

There are specific rules required by the DOJ that govern the release of handguns. Proof of ownership is one, proper registration with the state is another.

A"finder" does not qualify as ownership. Obviously the finder did not "register" the handgun.

Smiles,
 

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Apparently the jurisdiction where I worked did!

Smiles,
OK, cool.

What did your agency do with the firearm?, and more importantly, what did they use for their statutory authority?
 

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CA DOJ requirement!

OK, cool.

What did your agency do with the firearm?, and more importantly, what did they use for their statutory authority?
The Sheriff followed the requirements in the DOJ mandate requiring specific steps for returning handguns.

Handguns that were not returned to the legal owner were either retained and used by the department or destroyed by a third party.

There is no provision to return handguns to the "finder"!

Google is your friend!"http://www.ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/legr.pdf"
 

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The Sheriff followed the requirements in the DOJ mandate requiring specific steps for returning handguns.

Handguns that were not returned to the legal owner were either retained and used by the department or destroyed by a third party.

There is no provision to return handguns to the "finder"!

Google is your friend!"http://www.ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/legr.pdf"
You're confusing the LEGR process contained in PC 33850 with the title transfer to a finder process contained in Civil Code 2080.3

Forget about the LEGR. That has nothing to do with this situation. The LEGR only works for a person who has title to a firearm and wishes to have it returned. Since the finder does not presently have title, that process doesn't apply here.

Civil Code section 2080.3 provides that title to the property shall vest in the finder after 90 days. Since the firearm is not being "returned" to the finder, it must be transferred to him/her.

There most certainly are provisions to return found handguns to the finder. Specifically Civil Code 2080.3 to transfer title and Penal Code sections 26500-28490 to transfer possession (basically requiring the services of an FFL).

There is no authority for a LE agency to destroy firearms that are "not returned to the legal owner." If you think that there is any such authority, please cite it. About the closest that you will find is section 34000 which allows the destruction of firearms that were court exhibits, unclaimed, or abandoned. A found firearm claimed by the finder under CC 2080.3 fits none of these categories.
 

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Discussion Starter #47
Thanks, Rick. I have printed this out and am keeping it. Because the chance of me finding a gun is not as remote as with most folks. I find a ton of stuff.

Nothing today, but a cellphone yesterday. And somebody's keys at the car show on Sat. I walked the parking lot pushing the key fob button. When I got to the car that "booped" I left it locked and my cell number. They called me shortly after.
 

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A friend bought a house and found a Smith and Wesson chiefs special, they turned it in to the police, it was checked out for any crime envolvement, found clean,returned to my friend. .this was in Dallas Texas in 2014 or 2013 . my son bought it from them.Mike
 

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A firearm is still an item of "property" as used in the statutes.

There is no informational reporting service that collects data on property returned under Civil Code 2080.3. I did not personally encounter any request for the return of a firearm during my time in LE service. But I know well from that service, that compliance with the statutes is required.

California law makes no special provision for found firearms. Civil Code section 2080.2 applies to found firearms, just as it does to any other item of property.
You're incorrect Rick. I challenge you to find an LE agency in California that will hand over a found firearm to the finder, regardless of the hundreds of penal/ civil codes you'd like to show them. Having personally made a dump run with over 600 firearms, to be incinerated, which included two Luger pistols (hey, we don't all get to pick our assignments), I can guarantee you, what you're describing doesn't happen.

I'm not an attorney, and my guess, based on your posts, is that you aren't either. If there was a legal issue with agencies and the destruction of found firearms, it would not be the industry standard. But maybe you know better than the DA's Office and County Counsel attorneys.

Sorry for the abrupt nature of my tone, but when I see "pocket lawyers" giving legal advice to folks on internet forums, I get a little frustrated. A simple phone call to County Counsel would easily answer your question, but instead it seems you prefer to share your google research as gospel. Have you considered the fact that LE agencies are not FFL holders, and could be charged with being an unlicensed dealer if they transferred a firearm to someone who was not the owner?

Expect some resistance, few agencies have policies governing the release of found firearms, but the lack of an agency policy doesn't permit them to ignore the statute.
I'm confused by this comment. You seem to be implying that department policy can trump state law.
 

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You're incorrect Rick. I challenge you to find an LE agency in California that will hand over a found firearm to the finder, regardless of the hundreds of penal/ civil codes you'd like to show them. Having personally made a dump run with over 600 firearms, to be incinerated, which included two Luger pistols (hey, we don't all get to pick our assignments), I can guarantee you, what you're describing doesn't happen.

I'm not an attorney, and my guess, based on your posts, is that you aren't either. If there was a legal issue with agencies and the destruction of found firearms, it would not be the industry standard. But maybe you know better than the DA's Office and County Counsel attorneys.

Sorry for the abrupt nature of my tone, but when I see "pocket lawyers" giving legal advice to folks on internet forums, I get a little frustrated. A simple phone call to County Counsel would easily answer your question, but instead it seems you prefer to share your google research as gospel. Have you considered the fact that LE agencies are not FFL holders, and could be charged with being an unlicensed dealer if they transferred a firearm to someone who was not the owner?



I'm confused by this comment. You seem to be implying that department policy can trump state law.
Boulder Troll,

No "Pocket Lawyer" here. My background is close to 40 years service as an LEO and one of my final assignments was maintaining the operational polices of a large Sheriff's Department. I'm not a lawyer, but often worked with deputy county counsel, and special counsel performing oversight duties for the Board of Supervisors, That position required me to research the law, and to author policies that implemented the law.

One thing that my agency often learned the hard way, and where I saw other agencies learn the hard way, is that the way "we always did things" didn't make the process lawful. The lesson was often learned in civil court and resulted in the payment of damages.

I'm not making any inference that agency policy can trump state law. Actually, it's very much the opposite. State law prevails over policy. In this case, the state law provides that the finder is entitle to take title to found property if the owner cannot be found.

Rather than call names, if you believe that I've made statements in error, please cite the statute(s) or published case law, showing that to be so. I was good enough to publish the statutes supporting my view and I'd be appreciative if you would do the same.
 

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Boulder Troll,

No "Pocket Lawyer" here. My background is close to 40 years service as an LEO and one of my final assignments was maintaining the operational polices of a large Sheriff's Department. I'm not a lawyer, but often worked with deputy county counsel, and special counsel performing oversight duties for the Board of Supervisors, That position required me to research the law, and to author policies that implemented the law.

One thing that my agency often learned the hard way, and where I saw other agencies learn the hard way, is that the way "we always did things" didn't make the process lawful. The lesson was often learned in civil court and resulted in the payment of damages.

I'm not making any inference that agency policy can trump state law. Actually, it's very much the opposite. State law prevails over policy. In this case, the state law provides that the finder is entitle to take title to found property if the owner cannot be found.

Rather than call names, if you believe that I've made statements in error, please cite the statute(s) or published case law, showing that to be so. I was good enough to publish the statutes supporting my view and I'd be appreciative if you would do the same.
In response to your comment in bold, I did cite law, but so far you've ignored it. The PC is 26500, but I assumed you knew it was a law without needing the cite.

I don't disagree with you that lawsuits can result from "the way we've always done it" mindset, I've actually been involved in one personally. But as far as citing code sections back and forth, as I said, that's not my thing. I'm not an attorney and I don't play one on TV. People who make more money than me, and are readily available to field this very question, have already made their decision on this matter. Department policy to incinerate found/ unclaimed firearms did not happen in a vacuum. County Counsel and the DA's Office get consulted on those types of decisions. Which I shouldn't have to tell you, since you said you've done it yourself.

Your comment that I quoted seemed to represent that if an agency had a policy that allowed for the destruction of these firearms, it would be OK, in spite of your personal view that it is in violation of state law. Did I read that statement wrong? If so, could you clarify for me what you meant?
 

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Discussion Starter #52
I suspect that very few, if any, of those destroyed firearms were "found" guns in the context I'm asking about:

-------------I find a gun on the ground and turn it in to the Police.----------

I don't think this happens very often!

Those destroyed guns were most likely confiscations from suspects / banned individuals, recovered stolen weapons, and voluntary surrenders.

When legal owners cannot be found or are uninterested in ownership (insurance companies having already paid the claims) the guns get destroyed.

I'm speaking about a "finders keepers" situation. I think Rick's got it right.

Although the department may balk & push back, at least I have some legal ammo on my side to use in the battle.

All I need now is to find one! Btw, found a nice Zippo lighter a couple days ago. Today it was just a new Dorman's Pack of lock washers. I can always use more of those :)
 

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Discussion Starter #53
Oh, I also saw a tire iron on the roadside today too. But I couldn't stop for it. Tomorrow if it's still there I'll get it.

I'll then include it with the Buick I'm selling if it's the right size.
 

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I had an old guy come to work for me one time.

Oh, I also saw a tire iron on the roadside today too. But I couldn't stop for it. Tomorrow if it's still there I'll get it.

I'll then include it with the Buick I'm selling if it's the right size.
As an ordinary seaman on a ship that I was chief mate on. He was very frank in that he had at one time been a homeless bum around Newark NJ. He had much to his credit gotten his life back together at some point. He told me that the things that he used to find as he jockeyed his shopping cart around the waterfront looking for things to scavenge and sell was mind boggling.
 

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I suspect that very few, if any, of those destroyed firearms were "found" guns in the context I'm asking about:

-------------I find a gun on the ground and turn it in to the Police.----------

I don't think this happens very often!

Those destroyed guns were most likely confiscations from suspects / banned individuals, recovered stolen weapons, and voluntary surrenders.

When legal owners cannot be found or are uninterested in ownership (insurance companies having already paid the claims) the guns get destroyed.

I'm speaking about a "finders keepers" situation. I think Rick's got it right.

Although the department may balk & push back, at least I have some legal ammo on my side to use in the battle.

All I need now is to find one! Btw, found a nice Zippo lighter a couple days ago. Today it was just a new Dorman's Pack of lock washers. I can always use more of those :)
You're of course welcome to give it a shot (pun intended), if you ever find a gun, but I believe there is a serious flaw in Rick's logic. The laws regarding found property appear, at least to me, to deal with items that are not registered and/ or controlled. If you found a BMW M3, and no owner could be contacted, it doesn't simply become your property if unclaimed after 60 days. At a minimum, it would be sold at auction. It's not "finders keepers" (and there are laws in place, at least in California, governing the auctioning of found property).

Secondly, firearms are a controlled item. If you find a bottle of Vicodin on the street and nobody claims it, it doesn't become your property. I specifically chose a Schedule 2 drug for my analogy, because it is not "contraband", just as a firearm is not contraband. But both require legal process to be in lawful possession of.

Lastly, I'd ask you, since you agree with Rick's theory, how do you answer the question of 26500PC? An LE agency is not an FFL. So how do they transfer a firearm to you without being guilty of being an unlicensed dealer?

Magazineman, I forgot to add: you are assuming that your exact scenario has not happened, and it has, I can assure you. Sure, most of the guns we destroy are either turned in during "gun buybacks", collected as evidence, turned in for restraining order or 5150 WI type situations, etc. That is generally true, but not always. I can think of a few instances right off the top of my head where firearms were simply "found", and I can promise you, none were sold at auction or returned to the finder. It actually happens more often than you'd think.
 

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Magazineman, when folks give legal advice on forums, be very careful if you decide to follow it. Rick was kind enough to provide the civil code for his comment, but he also misrepresented what that code says:

If the law enforcement agency is unable to locate the owner, you are entitled to claim title to the property. Please refer to California Civil Code section 2080.3.
In his summary of 2080CC, he completely ignored this part:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 2080.3 or Section
2080.6, the legislative body of any city, city and county, or county
may provide by ordinance for the care, restitution, sale or
destruction of unclaimed property in the possession of the police
department of such city or city and county or of the sheriff of such
county."
 

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In response to your comment in bold, I did cite law, but so far you've ignored it. The PC is 26500, but I assumed you knew it was a law without needing the cite.

I don't disagree with you that lawsuits can result from "the way we've always done it" mindset, I've actually been involved in one personally. But as far as citing code sections back and forth, as I said, that's not my thing. I'm not an attorney and I don't play one on TV. People who make more money than me, and are readily available to field this very question, have already made their decision on this matter. Department policy to incinerate found/ unclaimed firearms did not happen in a vacuum. County Counsel and the DA's Office get consulted on those types of decisions. Which I shouldn't have to tell you, since you said you've done it yourself.

Your comment that I quoted seemed to represent that if an agency had a policy that allowed for the destruction of these firearms, it would be OK, in spite of your personal view that it is in violation of state law. Did I read that statement wrong? If so, could you clarify for me what you meant?
Boulder Troll,

I dealt with PC 25600 way back in Post #46. PC 26500 in no way authorizes a LE agency to destroy found firearms that are claimed by the finder. Let's take a look at what the section says. Here is the exact text:

(a) No person shall sell, lease, or transfer firearms unless the person has been issued a license pursuant to Article 1 (commencing with Section 26700) and Article 2 (commencing with Section 26800) of Chapter 2.

(b) Any person violating this article is guilty of a misdemeanor.​
All that this section does is to require that the transfer of a firearm occur through an FFL. There is no destruction authority anywhere in it. As was previously discussed in Post #46, the finder of a found firearm takes title to the firearm under Civil Code section 2080.3. Possession of the firearm must transferred by an FFL. If the agency lacks an FFL, that doesn't create an entitlement for them to destroy the firearm, it only creates a requirement for the services of an FFL to transfer the firearm. There are a great many FFL's in the state of California that can provide such a service.

As to the except of Civil Code section 2080.4 that you posted above allowing for the destruction of unclaimed property, please note that it is inapplicable where the finder makes a claim to the property under section 2080.3.

I'm a little confused about your reference to a statement that you attributed to me about a policy allowing destruction of found property in violation of state law. I did not make such a statement. Can you please point out the post # containing such a statement, and I'll clarify any statement made. I just need to know what you're talking about first.
 

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Expect some resistance, few agencies have policies governing the release of found firearms, but the lack of an agency policy doesn't permit them to ignore the statute.
I'm a little confused about your reference to a statement that you attributed to me about a policy allowing destruction of found property in violation of state law. I did not make such a statement. Can you please point out the post # containing such a statement, and I'll clarify any statement made. I just need to know what you're talking about first.
This is now the second time I've quoted this exact statement you made, and you keep acting as if you've never seen it before. If you ask me to quote it a third time I'm going to have to assume you're just screwing with me.

In your statement above (that I've quoted to you twice now), you are inferring that although you believe it is unlawful for agencies to destroy found property, you agree that if department policy allows it, it is OK. In other words, department policy can override state law. If that isn't what this sentence means, again, please tell me what it was you were actually trying to say.

I'll make the inference a little more clear for you; "the lack of a policy doesn't permit them to ignore the statute".... ergo, the presence of a policy would. How can I read your comment any other way? The meat is not in what you said, it's in what you implied.

Also, I disagree with your interpretation of 2080CC, which is why I prefer to leave these discussions up to attorneys and court officers. I believe "unclaimed" to be referring to the "loser" of the found property, not the person who locates it. If "unclaimed" referred to the finder, as you're suggesting, there there would be no such thing as "unclaimed property"...

The entire discussion is moot. If magazineman ever finds a handgun while out on his travels, he will turn it in to the local LE agency, petition to receive it as the "finder", and be told "No", possibly accompanied by some laughter. Do you disagree?
 

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This is now the second time I've quoted this exact statement you made, and you keep acting as if you've never seen it before. If you ask me to quote it a third time I'm going to have to assume you're just screwing with me.

In your statement above (that I've quoted to you twice now), you are inferring that although you believe it is unlawful for agencies to destroy found property, you agree that if department policy allows it, it is OK. In other words, department policy can override state law. If that isn't what this sentence means, again, please tell me what it was you were actually trying to say.

I'll make the inference a little more clear for you; "the lack of a policy doesn't permit them to ignore the statute".... ergo, the presence of a policy would. How can I read your comment any other way? The meat is not in what you said, it's in what you didn't say (but you let us imply).

Also, I disagree with your interpretation of 2080CC, which is why I prefer to leave these discussions up to attorneys and court officers. I believe "unclaimed" to be referring to the "loser" of the found property, not the person who locates it.
Boulder Troll,

No, I'm not screwing with you. I'm just having a hard time understanding you. My statement that "The lack of a policy doesn't permit them to ignore the statute" means just that. If an agency doesn't have a policy spelling out how to return a found item to its finder they don't acquire the ability to destroy the object.

There is no inference that they could ignore the statute if they did have a policy. The fact remains that statutes take precedence over agency policy in all cases.

I hope that makes my statement clear for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #60
Boulder Troll-------- If this situation occurred, YES, I would fully expect the local police to dismiss the idea of my ever gaining legal possession.

BUT, with that assumed, we must also recognize that Rick's argument is not without merit.

So what we are left with is a contest between different points of law. This is nothing new. Happens all the time. One side, or the other, may prevail.

So the laughter of cops is not really an issue. The real question is: Do I have ANY legal basis, at all, to claim ownership? Answer: YES, I do have some.

So I would try. Opinions on which side would win the fight is guesswork.

What's NOT guesswork is that I would lose a legal battle to obtain possession of my neighbor's house. Because I have no basis, or standing in that argument at all.

If there's a shot, I would take it. As long as the squeeze was light & the juice was worth it. Or even 50/50.

I'm retired, I have time. But thanks for your input, it too is not without merit.
 
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