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Can Police Take My Gun Without a Warrant?

Written by on November 26, 2022

Despite having a constitutional right to bear arms, gun owners in Indiana need to be aware of state firearm seizure and retention laws. Law enforcement officers are allowed to take away and potentially destroy a person’s firearm without a warrant if the individual is believed to be dangerous. Indiana Code 35-47-14, also known as the Jake Laird law, grants law enforcement this ability. However, if your guns were taken away without a warrant, you might be concerned that your rights were violated.

No matter your exact circumstances, your first step is to call an attorney for assistance. The Bellinger Law Office is available to evaluate your case and provide guidance specific to your situation. 

Situations Where Police Can Confiscate Firearms Without a Warrant

While Indiana allows legally entitled individuals to carry a handgun, the Jake Laird law permits police to take away firearms without a warrant. To seize a firearm, the owner must be considered to be a “dangerous individual,” which is defined as follows:

  • The individual is putting themselves or someone else at risk of personal injury;
  • The individual has been accused of a violent crime; 
  • The gun owner has a mental illness that has not demonstrated a pattern of consistently taking medication when prescribed; or
  • There is reasonable evidence that the individual has a tendency for emotionally unstable or violent conduct.

In these cases, the police may remove a firearm if they believe the individual may put themselves or someone else in danger. Seizing a firearm can be done without a warrant for a dangerous individual that fulfills at least one of these provisions. 

The court may issue a search and seizure if they have enough cause to suspect that the person is dangerous and in possession of a firearm. Law enforcement will need to present a sworn statement to a court as to why they believe the firearm should be confiscated. If the court approves of this evidence, they will issue a warrant. Without a warrant, the law officer must submit a sworn statement outlining why the individual is dangerous. 

What Happens After My Firearm is Seized?

After seizing a firearm, it may be possible to retrieve it if you fulfill specific requirements. 

A hearing must be held within 14 days after the police submit a sworn statement. The court will decide if the firearm will remain in custody or be returned to the owner if the individual is not determined to be dangerous. If the court decides to keep the firearm within police custody, the defendant needs to wait 180 days to file a petition to retrieve the firearm. 

Contact a Criminal Law Attorney

If you’ve had your firearms confiscated without a search warrant, contact the Bellinger Law Office at the soonest opportunity. The second amendment protects your right to gun ownership, and it’s important not to allow anyone to infringe on those rights. Our Fort Wayne criminal defense attorney is prepared to help you understand everything you need to know about potentially getting your firearm back, as well as other options. 

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