Commonwealth Second Amendment or Comm2A has filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts challenging the state’s use of bonded warehouses for holding confiscated firearms.
Comm2A Sues over Property Forfeiture
For Immediate Release: 3/28/2012
NATICK, MA – Commonwealth Second Amendment, Inc. (Comm2A) has filed suit in federal court in Massachusetts challenging the state’s misuse of bonded warehouses to force the forfeiture of privately owned firearms in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process guarantees.
Comm2A’s lawsuit on behalf of Russell Jarvis, James Jarvis and Robert Crampton is supported in part by a grant from the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund. Plaintiffs are represented by attorneys David Jensen of New York and Patrick M. Groulx of Somerville, Massachusetts. Defendants are Village Vault, Inc. and Mary E. Heffernan, Secretary of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Complaint
Massachusetts law allows police departments to turn confiscated firearms over to unregulated bonded warehouses who then charge the firearm owners onerous and prohibitive fees for the storage and ‘administration’ of those firearms. Bonded warehouses are authorized to sell these firearms once accumulated fees are in arrears for 90 days.
Massachusetts has failed to regulate bonded warehouses allowing them to levy fees that quickly exceed the value of the confiscated property and virtually assure that confiscated property is forfeit to the bonded warehouse. In many cases gun owners are not properly notified that their property has been transferred to a bonded warehouse until fees have accumulated to a point where they exceed the value of the seized property making their recovery economically irrational.
Valuable firearms belonging to each of the individual plaintiffs were involuntarily transferred to the bonded warehouse operated by defendant Village Vault. Those firearms were subsequently sold at auction by the defendant. In no instance did the plaintiffs have any meaningful opportunity to challenge the forfeiture of their property in a court or other neutral venue. None of individual plaintiffs have ever been convicted of or charged with any crime or are otherwise disqualified from possessing firearms under state or federal law.
Commonwealth Second Amendment (Comm2A) (www.comm2a.org) is a Massachusetts based non-profit dedicated to preserving and expanding the rights of gun owners in the northeast. Our activities include educational programs designed to promote a better understanding of Massachusetts and Federal firearms laws and rights as well as legal action programs to defend and protect the civil rights of Massachusetts gun owners.