Injured vet loses guns to DC thugs

| May 16, 2012

ROS sends us a link to Emily Miller’s article in the Washington Times about Lt. Augustine Kim who was traveling between his parents’ house and his own home in South Carolina when he stopped at Walter Reed for an appointment two years ago when Walter Reed was still in DC.

Apparently, there was a clerical error in regards to his driver’s license that he straightened out over the phone the next day. But the officers asked Kim if they could search his car;

The lieutenant agreed because his guns were properly locked in a case in the trunk, in compliance with federal firearm transport laws. Mr. Kim was handcuffed and told to sit on the curb during the search.

He recalled that the officers inspected the collection and “were upset about the fact that I had the AR-15, which D.C. considers to be an ‘assault weapon.’” The model of rifle is illegal in the District, but not in his home state.
The officers then told Mr. Kim he was in violation for the carrying firearms outside the home (in his vehicle) in the District. The nation’s capital does not acknowledge the right to bear arms, so there are no carry rights.

“I told them I had been under the impression that as long as the guns were locked in the back, with the ammunition separate, that I was allowed to transport them,” Mr. Kim told me in an interview. “They said, ‘That may be true, however, since you stopped at Walter Reed, that make you in violation of the registration laws.” It is illegal to possess a firearm anywhere in D.C. other than the home.

So they hauled his ass off to jail facing $20,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison on the four felony charges;

The veteran spent a “few hours in the drunk tank,” then was moved to the central jail. It was cold on the steel slab, so he asked the police guard for a blanket. “He was surly with me and sarcastic. He said, ‘Oh you want blankets? Well they’re back ordered,’” Mr. Kim recalled. “I remember thinking, we treated detainees in Afghanistan better than this.” He didn’t get much sleep that night.

So, for some reason, the prosecutor offered Kim a deal and Kim accepted one misdemeanor charge of one unregistered gun. But the MPD won’t return his guns to him;

On Monday, MPD spokesman Gwendolyn Crump said the department “notified the respondent’s attorney last week of his right to a hearing concerning the return of weapons.” Mr. Gardiner said that he did not receive a letter. The spokesman did not respond to my inquiry about the date the letter was sent.

Why does he need a hearing? The prosecutor released the property, so it’s not theirs. They need to just give back the injured veteran’s property, that they confiscated wrongly in the first damn place.

Category: DC Government, Guns, Veterans Issues

Comments (34)

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  1. The question I wonder is, they’re saying he was wrong because he stopped in the state at Walter Reed. But isn’t Walter Reed a) not in DC and b) on federal territory? The whole arrest was completely wrong from start to finish.

  2. CI says:

    @1 – Yep, Walter Reed is now located in Bethesda, MD…..not D.C…..but I think the article states that he was pulled over in D.C.

  3. Jonn Lilyea says:

    Like I wrote, the arrest happened almost two years ago while WRAMC was still in DC. But the Montgomery County Police aren’t any easier on people with guns.

  4. CI says:

    Whoops…..totally missed that ‘two years ago’…..

  5. Doc Bailey says:

    I’m sorry, but this whole case is a load of crap. I do believe that every part of this case smacks of wrongness

  6. Frank says:

    If there’s ever another civil war, I know where I want to see most of the collateral damage to happen.

  7. UtahVet says:

    This is where federal law is severely needed. The fact that something is perfectly legal in one state, he was following federal statutes, and he still wound up facing felony charges is just a load of shit. We cannot expect everyone to know all the complex laws of each and every state. Hell, most lawyers don’t.

  8. NHSparky says:

    Amazing to me how the capital of the longest-running democratically-based nation on Earth is one of the most tyrannical police states known to humanity.

  9. Beretverde says:

    An example of the disconnect between citizen’s rights, the constitution and rogue government individuals?

  10. NHSparky says:

    “…of the people, by the people, for the people.” Seems I recall reading those words somewhere.

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    Seems I recall reading that somewhere else. Kinda important document, too.

  11. Hondo says:

    There is a federal law regarding transit. But stopping for an appointment enroute isn’t exactly the same as transit.

    Had this happened in a state vice DC, the guy would be toast. States can (and do) have different laws, and out-of-state visitors and persons in transit are indeed legally responsible for knowing and obeying them. Ignorance of the law is not a legal defense. And though prosecutors often use common sense in such cases, DC authorities obviously didn’t choose to do so. Surprise, surprise.

    Fair? Perhaps not. But it’s been that way since well before 1789. If you don’t know the local laws, and violate them through ignorance, you’re at the mercy of local law enforcement and are subject to get hammered.

    The fact that this originally happened on Federal territory IMO gives the guy a fighting chance to prevail on appeal, should he choose to go that route. One can make a good argument that Federal statute is controlling on federal property, local laws to the contrary notwithstanding. And DC is still a Federal enclave vice a state, despite the fact that Congress has allowed DC to form a local government.

  12. Bubblehead Ray says:

    The point is not the bullshit arrest (hint…if you are pulled over for any reason and the PoPo ask for permission to search your car, the correct answer is “NO”). The point is the DC coppers are committing a crime by failing to return this guy’s property without due process. It’s called “stealing” and I’m pretty sure it’s illegal in all “57” States.

  13. defendUSA says:

    Hondo…This happened to a friend of mine…not knowing the law and getting arrested. Luckily, through character witness testimony and a year of bullshit, charge was dismissed. It could have ruined her career, and her life.

  14. Joseph Brown says:

    Utah, this is exactly how people get subjugated. The first thing the gov does is disarm the people. My local sheriff made international news by telling us to get a concealed carry permit, because a woman was sexually assaulted in a local park and now one of our state legislators is trying to get an open carry law(?) like was just passed in, I believe, Oklahoma yesterday. In other words we don’t need the federal gov. picking and choosing whether you or I can own a weapon.

  15. Joseph Brown says:

    That post should have said UtahVet @7

  16. WOTN says:

    Unlawful seizure of private property (particularly firearms and cash) and its permanent confiscation is far more prevalent across the Nation, than any of us would feel comfortable with.

  17. Dave says:

    There is a similar case, also East Coast I believe (NJ?) in which a female disabled vet had her personal legal weapons confiscated by police when they entered her apartment when she wasn’t home. Although a judge ruled the search illegal and required the police to return them, she has had to sue the police to get them to get ’em back, and is hoping they won’t be “accidentally” disposed of or destroyed before then.
    Roy is 100% correct – never ever EVER allow a warrantless search of your property by the police. It allows them to charge you for anything they might find, yours or not, and the legal hassles can be endless. Even if they have a warrant – you are allowed legally to read it all the way through before they can start. Many warrants are fairly restrictive, but some departments act as if any warrant allows them to search/destroy everything you own – read it and know what it does and does not cover. Don’t worry about pissing off the police at that point – no matter how nicely they may present it, you are already in an adversarial position and have nothing to lose. Even better – call your lawyer right then.

  18. Country Singer says:

    Glad to see Emily is on this. She’s very Pro-2A and has a great record of slamming DC’s gun laws in print.

  19. UtahVet says:

    Joseph @15,

    I’m about as pro-gun as a person can get. I’m one of those fellas the media talks about who drools at gun shows and “hordes” ammo and guns. I carry a Springfield XD9 subcompact and I compete in IDPA. I’m a lifetime member of the NRA. I just think it is bullshit that this guy was following the law of his home state and federal transit laws and still ended up facing jail time. I personally think we need federal legislation to normalize it more across the various states. I have a valid CCW in 38 states (I have my permit in both Utah and Arizona). This should not be a difficult thing for legislators to figure out.

  20. cacti35 says:

    Think that’s bad? Wait and see how much worse it will be if Obama gets re-elected and gets to appoint a couple of SCOTUS Justices. It’s a damn shame that the whole country can’t follow the U.S. Constitution!

  21. UpNorth says:

    @#11, Hondo, I believe the article said that he was stopped in downtown D.C. after he got lost. That said, the officer stopping him obviously missed out on the line where they were handing out common sense.
    That was compounded by the U.S. Attorney who was originally assigned the case, who also missed out on the issuance of common sense. It should have been tossed right then, and the LT’s property returned to him. U.S. Attorneys can do that, it happens all the time.
    All of that said, I agree with Mrs. Reagan, Just Say No. In this case, after arresting the LT, the cops would have inventoried the car for impound, so they would have found the firearms anyway. Or, they would have parked and locked it, and it probably would have been pillaged and looted by the local, real crooks.

  22. Hondo says:

    Bubblehead Ray: Telling the police they cannot search your car is of little value, because in general they can do so without your permission and without a warrant if they have probable cause. This includes bags and containers in the vehicle. The SCOTUS case establishing this precedent was California v. Acevedo, 500 U.S. 565, 111 S. Ct. 1982, 114 L. Ed. 2d 619. See

    for a brief, but more complete, discussion of the subject of warrants and automobile searches.

  23. Joseph Brown says:

    UtahVet @ 19, my bad. I read your comment entirely wrong. My apologies, sir.

  24. PintoNag says:

    This is one area where we need laws standardized, both state and federal. I have a concealed carry permit, and have had one for almost twenty-five years; that won’t stop me from being arrested if I make the mistake of carrying that weapon where it’s prohibited. Just to give you an example, it is prohibited — within a five mile radius! — at: the local army post; all state and federal offices; the local hospitals; and all eating establishments that serve alcohol. And that’s just within this one county! There are also federal and state parks that have varying laws for each. There are also specific laws covering when and where you can carry a weapon in your vehicle, in open carry, and concealed carry. They don’t all coincide. And the list goes on and on.

    Ignorance in these laws, no matter what the circumstances, will get you arrested and your guns confiscated. Period.

    And my state is considered pro-gun!!

  25. Dave says:

    Hondo – think the key words are “probable cause” – just because you have a package in the car is not probable cause. There has to be some reasonable suspicion (visible drugs etc.) and unless I am badly mistaken, you are within your rights to call a lawyer and have them present before the search is carried out. Probably well worth a few hundred bucks to get a lawyer at the scene pronto… I’m not a big fan of lawyers and think we are ‘way too litiginous, but there is a time and a place for them and this is definitely one of ’em.

  26. OWB says:

    PN: I hear ya, and sympathize with the lack of standardization among the states. However, I disagree with any interferance from the feds simply because it would inevitably somehow abridge someone’s right to bear arms. Even if something of an average was instituted, some states which are currently much more open in their view of citizens arming themselves would likely find themselves forced into some sort of more restrictive standard.

    I know, I know, it would just be so much more convenient for travelers. But, (and this is a HUGE but) altering what is clearly said in the Constitution for the convenience of some is not sufficient justification for it, in my view.

  27. Hondo says:

    Dave: Technically, you are correct in that probable cause is required. But in practice – well, good luck with that. Probable cause for a traffic stop is generally pretty easy for a cop to find. And if that probable cause is for suspicion of driving while impaired (e.g., you swerved or weaved due to fatigue or inattention), well, he’s possibly also got probable cause to search at least the easily accessible parts of the passenger compartment for drugs and alcohol.

  28. Hondo says:

    OWB: agreed. It would also at least arguably run afoul of the 10th Amendment, which reserves to the states all powers not granted to the Federal government by the Constitution or prohibited to the states by same.

    One can argue that the SCOTUS has now established the primacy of Federal law (the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution) regarding the right to individual firearms ownership in McDonald v. Chicago. (Even there, the “reasonable regulation” allowed is not well defined and will probably require a number of additional SCOTUS cases.) However, the right to carry has not similarly been established as universal by the SCOTUS – and until it is, the 10th Amendment arguably gives states the rights to regulate that behavior.

  29. OWB says:

    And with that I also would agree, Hondo. I’m very much on board with communities, as subdivisions of the state, and states being able to regulate themselves however they wish to do so.

    I retain the right to laugh at those restrictions I find funny and to not spend any of my limited expendable income in places which have objectionable laws. As everyone else also has the right to do.

  30. semper says:

    Fucking cunts … disgusted…..all of us….law abiding citizens should carry wherever….whenever we please. Im a total “extremist” ….my kids will be doing transition drills in the backyard with bb guns….

  31. Bubblehead Ray says:

    I see your point… The police may be able to search my car by muttering they have probable cause, but they have to be able to articulate that Probable Cause in court where I can challenge it. If you say “Go ahead and search” you have NO legal standing to object to anything they find.

    I find it is just easier to not get pulled over. 🙂

  32. Anonymous says:

    Bubblehead Ray: Agreed – not getting stopped kinda renders this discussion moot. (smile)

    But it’s still best to know the local laws as well if you plan for stopping for longer than to get gas and grab a bite to eat, too. Could keep you out of hot water.

  33. Hondo says:

    Damn it to hell. 32 was me.

    I have got to figure out how to store state info on this machine without allowing tracking by all sites.