An Iraq War vet fought back against police who tried to seize his guns without a warrant — and managed to win, even though a new law passed by his state makes it much easier for guns to be confiscated with little due process.
According to NJ.com, Leonard Cottrell Jr. of Millstone, New Jersey, got a surprising phone call while he was at work at the local Wawa convenience store.
The 40-year-old veteran told the news outlet it was his wife, telling him that two New Jersey State Police had showed up at their doorstep.
The troopers said they were there because Cottrell’s 13-year-old had said something about security at Millstone Middle School. They wanted to investigate. And they wanted his guns.
“Cottrell, a disabled U.S. Army veteran who served three tours during ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom,’ owns a shotgun and a pistol,” NJ.com reported. “He has all the correct permits to own the firearms, he said, and predominately uses the shotgun to hunt.”
So, while Cottrell’s wife allowed the troopers in to search his son’s room without a warrant — no weapons were found. Cottrell declined to let them take his firearms.
— NJ.com (@njdotcom) July 12, 2018
“No one from the state was going to take my firearms without due process,” Cottrell said.
Sadly, New Jersey is one of those states where officials are sacrificing due process in the name of “the children.” Gov. Phil Murphy, a Democrat, signed a spate of laws that allow authorities to confiscate guns from individuals they believe to be a danger, whether to themselves or others.
Murphy participated in a local “March for Our Lives” event back in March and said student “activism inspires me and reaffirms my commitment to making New Jersey a national leader in passing common-sense gun safety laws.” At the time, lawmakers in the state capital of Trenton were considering the new laws.
“Today we marched in memory of Parkland,” Murphy said, according to NJ.com.
“But, we will act in the name of every family and every community in our state that has been touched by gun violence, and the many more who wish to remain safe. The thousands of young people who came together today — and the many adults who joined them — have changed the conversation. We must listen to them and act to ensure a better, safer future for every New Jerseyan.”
That all sounds very good for media consumption, but how this new law is being applied proves that there are significant concerns regarding due process — as we’ve pointed out more than a few times.
As for this case, police backed off on trying to take the weapons from Cottrell’s home, with the vet saying they “danced around the issue” when he pressed them on the law.
“Troopers responded to Mr. Cottrell’s residence in reference to the report of a possible school threat,” New Jersey State Police Sgt. First Class Jeff Flynn told NJ.com in an email. “Based on their investigation, it was determined that Mr. Cottrell’s weapons did not need to be seized.”
As for Cottrell’s son, he was barred from both school and attending his graduation.
“He’s upset,” Cottrell said of his son. “He didn’t do anything wrong, and he doesn’t understand why it happened – he was just having a conversation with nothing as far as threats. It shouldn’t have blown up the way it did. But he understands it happened, there are consequences and there’s fallout from his actions.”
Nevertheless, this wasn’t something that should have escalated the way that it did. Our hats are off to Cottrell for standing up for his rights, but this still is an ominous sign for Second Amendment supporters everywhere.
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