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Politics Second Amendment

Soldier Gets Confiscated Guns Back from Washington, D.C.

by Dylan Polk   |  May 22nd, 2012 12

1st Lt. Augustine Kim (Photo from The Washington Times)

An Army National Guardsman is getting his guns back from the District of Columbia following a two-year court battle.

According to The Washington Times, the city will return 1st Lt. Augustine Kim’s firearms, which were confiscated during a 2010 traffic stop by the Metropolitan Police Department, said city property clerk Derek Gray.

Kim, 28, had been storing his weapons collection — including an AR-15, a Beretta 9mm and several .45-caliber pistols — at his parents’ house in New Jersey while he was deployed in Afghanistan. While on his way back to his home in Charleston, S.C., he stopped at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington for an appointment.

The Times reports that after the appointment, Kim became lost in the city and was eventually pulled over by an MPD officer, who asked to search his vehicle. Kim complied, as the guns were safely locked and secured in his trunk with ammunition being stored separately, but that didn’t seem to matter to the officer, who arrested Kim on the spot.

“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,” Kim told The Times. ‘They said, ‘That may be true, however, since you stopped at Walter Reed, that makes you in violation of the registration laws.'”

Ah yes, another fine example of D.C.’s anti-gun laws run amok; in our notoriously gun-shy capital, it is illegal to possess a firearm anywhere other than one’s own home, so Kim was charged with four felony counts of carrying outside of home, charges carrying a maximum penalty of $20,000 in fines and up to 20 years in prison.

With his military career on the line, Kim lawyered up the next day, calling firearms attorney Richard Gardiner, who convinced prosecutors to offer Kim a plea deal, in which Kim would plead guilty to just one misdemeanor charge of an unregistered gun; that charge would then be dismissed if Kim did not violate the law again for nine months.

Charges against Kim were dropped in May 2011, but the city still held onto his guns as evidence. A reporter from The Times asked an MPD representative whether the department planned on returning the guns, and reported that the department would allow Kim to respond to a letter granting him the right to a hearing — which The Times speculates was mailed just after the reporter called.

Finally, after a 17-minute hearing Friday, the department announced it would return Kim’s guns, following phone calls from South Carolina senators Lindsey Graham and Jim DeMint, as well as Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

When asked how the District could have handled the case differently, Gardiner suggested that the District be held to the same standard as the federal government: Under the Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Act, the government has 60 days from the date of seizure to send out notices to claimants, and upon receiving claims, the government then has 90 days to either file a forfeiture case or return the property.

That means Kim, who is now preparing for deployment to Kosovo, could have gotten his guns back eight months ago.

But that’s not the real problem. The District of Columbia overstepped its ridiculous laws by trying to charge an Army veteran with a felony — four felonies, at that — and then again when it took its sweet time returning Kim’s property. That’s not just violating Kim’s Second Amendment rights; that’s theft.

Rather than roll over and become a victim of an unfair law, thankfully Kim was determined enough to stand up for his rights, and in winning, set a precedent for all legal gun owners in our nation’s capital.



  • TheRandyGuy

    Any body still under the delusion that government is your friend or that "law enforcement" deserves respect?

    • nonono

      That idea died inside me as I grew up and found out the truth

  • mick

    Texas: Here we have concealed carry and open carry in your vehicle. I asked 3 cops: " I have a motorcycle with no storage, how can I carry a weapon without a concealed permit?" I got 3 different answers, one being "I'll haul your ass to jail". When in doubt- arrest… Our system… wow…

    • @HoustonGunBlog

      the requirements per "The Motorists Protection Act" in Texas is you are in violation if:
      1. the handgun is in plain view
      2. you are a member of a street gang
      3. you are committing a crime greater than a class C regarding traffic or boating
      4. you are unauthorized to own a firearm

      If you knew the laws, instead of just complaining that the officer did not know the answer, you could have educated him. I would suggest taking the $69 CHL Class at or checking out

    • @HoustonGunBlog

      Also, "open carry in your vehicle" would refer to a long gun. Yes it would be legal to open carry a long gun on a motorcycle. You could either build a scabbard or use a sling. I have seen it done and have pictures to prove it. Its just like the "unlicensed carry on property owned by you or under your control" – you can mow your yard with a gun on your hip in Texas, but it wont stop your neighbors from calling police. The only authorized carry of handguns would be in all situations except those mentioned in my other comment. –

  • JiminGA

    Good outcome… last. I only hope the guns are still there and haven't been stolen from "custody".

  • Dave Hicks

    IN our NATIONS capitol?
    A member of our military on active duty?
    Perhaps if our local law enforcement were less envious of the military
    and more supportive they would find more productive things to do with their time?

  • nonono

    Stood up for what?
    He pussied out and took a plea he didn't fight anything other than getting his property back
    This is only getting any media exposure because he was in the military I am sure also

  • @AlfredArreguin

    In the city I live in the code states,You can transport a firearm to a designated target area unloaded and out of sight. So, when Kim took a detour. His actions became illegal. I would think if he was trying to get home. He could have gotten directions and quickly corrected his error in directions. But he was wandering around. For all the officer knows he was looking to comit a crime. Kim is lucky he got off.

    • Enzo7

      Nice take Hitler….would you like to see if my papers are in order as well? You must be one of the 5% of cops that are complete a-holes….get bent ya D-Bag.


    The military should be able to carry a weapon or weapons any where we like but thanks to Jimmy Carter who disarmed the military we are screwed so all these assholes who are shooting at us and we can't defend ourselves in our own country is BS I have sent emails out to Congressman and Senetors to get this changed but no one has taken action on this maybe if we all stuck togeather and wrote them just maybe it would change. Damn we are the US MILITARY WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO CARRY NO MATTER WHAT.

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