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

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.

Recommended for You

The Savage MSR 15 Competition is an out-of-the-box race horse ready to help you win 3-Gun matches. Rifles

Savage Arms MSR 15 Competition Review

James Tarr - May 21, 2019

The Savage MSR 15 Competition is an out-of-the-box race horse ready to help you win 3-Gun...

The Breach is FLIR's most compact thermal-imaging monocular. Optics

The FLIR Breach PTQ136

Chris Mudgett - May 22, 2019

The Breach is FLIR's most compact thermal-imaging monocular.

I often hear stories about this or that instructor. They range from awesome to keep it positive Tactical

Finding the right shooting instructor

Kyle Lamb - September 22, 2017

I often hear stories about this or that instructor. They range from awesome to keep it...

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Armscor Semi-Auto Shotguns

Armscor Semi-Auto Shotguns

We look at the new shotguns from Armscor - the VR80 and the brand new bullpup VRBP100.

A New Season of G&A TV

A New Season of G&A TV

In this new season of Guns & Ammo TV, we introduce two new series and bring back a viewer favorite - Camera's Don't Lie. We look at long-range tech and see how to make shots previously thought impossible. Next we visit ISS Prop House in Hollywood.

Beretta

Beretta's New 92X

The 92X Performance model from Beretta was created to satisfy two requirements: Speed and accuracy. Beretta's new competition pistol is uncompromising and aims for top performance.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

How-To

9 Most Misused Gun Terms

Kyle Wintersteen - November 21, 2016

"Assault weapon." Sixteen-round "clip." A box of "bullets." When it comes to guns and gun...

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an engineering degree to tinker with; here's a look at some upgrade options to take your Ruger American to the next level, and make it something a bit different. Accessories

Top Ruger American Rifle Upgrades

Philip Massaro - March 15, 2018

Some guns are easier to work with than others, but the Ruger American Rifle doesn't require an...

Crossbreed's new The Reckoning holster is a simple leather-Kydex combination with multiple points of retention adjustment and clip options. Accessories

Crossbreed's The Reckoning Holster

Eric R. Poole - May 13, 2019

Crossbreed's new The Reckoning holster is a simple leather-Kydex combination with multiple...

See More Stories

More News

Let's take a look at five of the most important races in November 2018. Politics

The 5 Most Important Senate Races in the 2018 Election

Keith Wood - November 02, 2018

Let's take a look at five of the most important races in November 2018.

The Swabian town M'ssingen (Baden-Wuerttemberg) will be celebrating a double anniversary in 2019 Industry

Double Anniversary for Karl Nill and Ergosign EvoComp

Guns & Ammo Digital Staff - January 31, 2019

The Swabian town M'ssingen (Baden-Wuerttemberg) will be celebrating a double anniversary in...

After an appearance by President Trump on Friday and the abrupt ouster of its own president Oliver North on Saturday, the rest of the 148th annual meeting of the National Rifle Association proceeded with huge crowds gathering in downtown Indy. As the show floor closed and crowds traveled home, the group finished its time in the Midwest on Monday by electing officers for the next year. NRA Show

Fast Times in Indy: NRA Wraps Up Eventful 148th Annual Meeting, Elects Officers

Lynn Burkhead, OSG Senior Digital Editor

After an appearance by President Trump on Friday and the abrupt ouster of its own president...

See More News

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×