The Police Took My Gun, How Do I Get It Back?

In many cases the police may confiscate a firearm when a person is arrested but charges may never be filed or the criminal charges may be dismissed later in court with the help of an attorney. How do you get the gun back?


On January 1, 2005, the Law Enforcement Gun Release (LEGR) process became effective as set forth in Penal Code section 12021.3.

This process requires any person who claims title to any firearm that is in the custody or control of a court or law enforcement agency and who wishes to have the firearm returned to submit a LEGR application form (see attached form) for a determination by the Department of Justice (DOJ), as to whether he or she is eligible to possess a firearm.

LEGR Application Process:

1. The individual that wants the firearm returned must submit the application with the appropriate fee to the DOJ.
2. The DOJ will do a firearm eligibility check.
3. A notice of the results of the check will be sent to the applicant.
4. The DOJ notice must be presented to the Court or law enforcement agency within 30 days of the date of the notice.
5. If the DOJ notice of results is not presented to the Court or agency within 30 days of the date of the notice, the applicant has to start all over.

California law allows the owner of a firearm that is seized by police during an arrest, where no charges are filed, to get the firearm back without a court order. If it is a weapon seized pursuant to a warrant and there is no filing, then a return of property order for a firearm should not be signed unless this section is complied with.

I have found that most lawyers and agencies are unfamiliar with this new requirement and are still just asking judges to sign a return-of-property. Please read this section before considering such a request.

Click to access legr.pdf

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty five years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV regarding license suspension hearings stemming from drunk driving arrests.
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