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Court says no to injunction stopping Nassau County Police Department Gun Confiscation Policy

"This case involves a constitutional challenge to the Nassau County Police Department's policy of confiscating firearms in the course of responding to domestic incidents." P. 1.

The Plaintiff sought a preliminary injunction preventing the Nassau County Police Department ("NCPD") from retaining/destroying firearms confiscated from his home and the home of individuals similarly situated.

What happened here? The Plaintiff alleges deprivation of his constitutional rights because, after a shouting match with his son, the NCPD requested that the Plaintiff (Weinstein) voluntarily surrender his firearms and, when he refused, four NCPD officers demanded the surrender of the firearms. The Plaintiff further alleges he was threatened with arrest and other unspecified criminal charges if he refused to comply. So, under this threat, the Plaintiff allegedly surrendered what the Court characterizes as "an unspecified number and type of firearms that he alleges were legally owned." P. 3. Nonetheless, the guns were taken as evidenced by the delay and, eventually, the return of the Plaintiff's pistol license and the Plaintiff's firearms.

Because the firearms were returned, the Court narrows "the scope of the [inquiry] is limited to the following preliminary injunctive relief:

(i) an injunction preventing the Defendants from searching for and seizing firearms in the home of plaintiff and other similarly situated persons, without cause, where there is no Order of Protection, no domestic violence, and no arrest or charges filed;

(ii) an injunction preventing the Defendants from continuing the NCPD's policy of confiscating firearms in the course of responding to domestic incidents requiring a police presence; and

(iv) a mandatory injunction ordering the Defendants to institute a procedure within 60 days by which either (a) firearms and pistol licenses confiscated during police responses to domestic disturbance calls are returned to their owner within five days, or (b) the owner be provided a hearing before a judicial officer within fourteen days regarding the lawful reasons for retaining said firearms, with the Defendants having the burden of proof thereof." P. 10.

Legal Standard: ["A party seeking a preliminary injunction must show: '(1) the likelihood of irreparable injury in the absence of such an injunction, and (2) either (a) likelihood of success on the merits or (b) sufficiently serious questions going to the merits to make them a fair ground for litigation plus a balance of hardships tipping decidedly toward the party requesting the preliminary relief.'" Sagepoint, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64065, at *6 (quoting Zino Davidoff SA v. CVS Corp., 571 F.3d 238, 242 (2d Cir. 2009)); see Christian Louboutin S.A. v. Yves Saint Laurent Am. Holding, Inc., 696 F.3d 206, 215 (2d Cir. 2012) (reciting applicable standard); Crichlow v. Fischer, 12-cv-7774, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18812, at *15-*16 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 17, 2015) (reciting standard, quoting Mullins v. City of New York, 626 F.3d 47, 52-53 (2d Cir. 2010))."] P. 11

Application: The Court finds that a preliminary injunction is unwarranted in the situation. First, the Plaintiff failed to identify actual and imminent harm: his pistol license and guns were returned. Second, there is little likelihood that the NCPD will confiscated the weapons again during the pendency of the action and, third, the Plaintiff is not likely to suffer any injury or irreparable harm if the Court does not grant such relief. The Court does note that the Plaintiff "has not met his burden of justifying the need to suspend police activity aimed at removing guns from potentially serious domestic situations that result in police intervention. Indeed, it may be true that the present policy occasionally would deprive nonviolent and law-abiding individuals of their firearms during the pendency of a police investigation. Also, apparently, some of these investigations take longer than certain gun owners would like. However, at this juncture, without evidence that the police were or are likely to actually and imminently act in a way that violates Weinstein's constitutional rights, the individualized accounts presented here do not support a finding that the policy is unconstitutional as applied, requiring its immediate discontinuance." P. 17.

The Court refuses to issue an injunction and the alleged policy continues to be in place.

The case is Weinstein v. Krumpter, 14-cv-7210 (EDNY Aug 26 2015).

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