The Corner

A Right Delayed Is a Right Denied

The Colorado-based Loveland Reporter-Herald tells the tale of a woman who has been ensnared by the state’s new “universal background check” rules:

The last time Sara Warren saw her personal handgun was in the ambulance after an accident on March 28. The police have refused to give the firearm back to her.

The Loveland resident was taken to the Poudre Valley Hospital where her personal firearm was turned over to Fort Collins Police Services — where it’s been ever since.

Due to advice from the city attorney’s office based on the Colorado gun transfer laws that went into effect July 1, 2013, the police have been unable to return her property.

“I’m told there are other people in this situation,” Sheriff Justin Smith said. “It’s terrible when a law-abiding citizen gets caught up in something like this and it causes them to lose faith in their government.”

Warren said she used her Ruger compact SR9 handgun as protection during her work as a maid, entering strangers’ homes alone. She has had to turn down work, not willing to risk her safety.

The police, meanwhile, seem to have no idea what is going on:

Warren said she has been in contact with Fort Collins police and the city attorney’s office since her accident, demanding a way for her property to be returned to her. No options were offered her.

“I’m a lawful citizen. I use my gun legally. I need my gun … this is ridiculous to me,” Warren said. “There are people out there who can’t get their guns back. They haven’t done anything wrong.”

“There are arrangements being made as we speak to have a certain time, on Wednesday, May 21, to meet at Jax,” Szakmeister said. “Police officers will be there and they will be returning their weapons at that time.”

Last year, when Toomey-Manchin was being debated, opponents of universal background checks were met with utter incredulity. How could we possibly oppose such an obviously “common sense” idea? Well, I opposed it in part because I don’t believe that people should ask the government permission to exercise their constitutional rights, and in part because governments are run by people, and people are incompetent and slow. Laws are written badly. Databases are full of false positives (the post-9/11 arrangement has led to a situation in which many innocent people are labeled as threats but can do nothing about it). Authorities are unaware of what the rules are. Worst of all, perhaps, any “common sense” exceptions that are necessary to ensure the passage of new rules tend, once the general principle has been signed into law, swiftly to be rebranded as “loopholes.”

As the paper confirms, authorities remain

unaware whether gun owners would be responsible for the background check fee or not. He also said there is no plan currently for regular gun returns.

“We’re working on a long-term solution. The greatest solution would be for the legislators to put in a police exemption. Otherwise we’re probably going to have to get an FFL and find someone in the office willing to work in that capacity,” Szakmeister said.

Meanwhile, an American citizen is denied her basic rights. Unacceptable.

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