15.215 – Domestic Violence Firearms Surrender
Effective Date: 12/1/2014
With the potential for violence in domestic relationships, courts may order parties involved in criminal or civil domestic violence cases to surrender firearms to local law enforcement officers.
At the scene of a domestic violence call, officers may encounter consenting parties requesting, for personal safety reasons, to surrender non-evidentiary firearms.
Officers may also confront circumstances at the scene of a domestic violence call where, in the officers’ judgment, removal of firearms is warranted in the interests of public safety. Such circumstances may include the parties’ demeanors, criminal history, or past use of firearms, or the illegal status of firearms based on their nature, possession or use.
The following policy addresses the procedures in accepting and storing these firearms.
This policy applies to firearms surrendered by parties involved in SPD misdemeanor or felony domestic violence investigations and firearms forfeited or surrendered by court order.
Evidentiary and loaded firearms are to be handled per Department firearms evidentiary procedures.
Consenting party – a party involved in an SPD domestic violence incident who resides at the dwelling or works at the premises, and has dominion and control over areas in which domestic violence surrendered firearms are located. When two or more such parties are present at the scene, all such parties should provide consent for officers to accept voluntarily surrendered domestic violence firearms.
Domestic Violence Surrendered Firearms – Firearms that are voluntarily surrendered by a party involved in an SPD domestic violence investigation and are not known to be evidence of a crime, firearms removed in the interests of public safety, and domestic violence firearms that are surrendered or forfeited per court order.
Evidentiary Firearms – Firearms that are evidence of a crime and may be required for future criminal prosecution.
Non-evidentiary firearms – A domestic violence surrendered firearm that has no value as evidence. It appears to be legal to possess and ownership of the firearm is established.
2. Officers May Seize Court Ordered Surrendered Firearms Involved in Domestic Violence
See: 15.215-TSK-1 Officers Dispatched to Pick-up a Domestic Violence Surrendered Firearm
3. The Domestic Violence Unit Coordinates for a Court-Ordered Release of Seized Domestic Violence Firearms
See 15.215-PRO-1 Processing a Court Order to Release a Seized Firearm
4. Officers Screen Firearms Seizures with a Sergeant
Officers deciding to seize a firearm for community caretaking purposes or voluntary surrender will:
- Screen the incident with a sergeant
- Articulate the facts supporting seizing the firearm, or the voluntary surrender of the firearm, in the GO narrative
- Route the GO to the Domestic Violence Unit
15.215-TSK-1 Officers Dispatched to Pick-up a Domestic Violence Surrendered Firearm
1. Verifies the identity of the surrendering party.
2. Reads the court order thoroughly.
3. Takes possession of the firearm as directed by the order, and makes the firearm safe.
4. Draws a new GO Number and writes a report titled, “Gun-Surrender-DV”.
5. Completes a Property Report listing the firearm(s).
6. Prints a copy of the Property Report and mails/provides it to the surrendering party before the end of shift.
7. Submits the firearm to the Evidence Unit.
15.215-PRO-1 Processing a Court Order to Release a Seized Firearm
Domestic Violence Unit Sergeant
1. Receives an order from the court via FAX to release a firearm to the owner.
2. Contacts the owner of the firearm by phone, and letter, advising the owner to contact the Evidence Unit to start a background check.
3. Sends a Vmail 1.17 Evidence & Property Release Authorization to the Evidence Unit releasing the firearm
- Checks the box indicating the owner was contacted by letter
4. Retains the original court order release document.
5. Completes a background form when contacted by the requesting firearm owner.
6. Sends the completed background form to the Public Request Unit.
Public Request Unit
7. Completes a background check and sends the results to the Evidence Unit.
8. Contacts the requesting person and informs them that they can/cannot receive the firearm.