The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) today said Hazelwood, MO Police Chief Carl Wolf should set his personal anti-gun politics aside and shelve an order to have his officers seize firearms from motorists they encounter in routine traffic stops, when the state’s concealed carry law takes effect.
SAF obtained a copy of Chief Wolf’s memorandum to his officers, ordering them to check any firearm they find in any vehicle they stop, to determine whether it is lost or stolen, and finally, “Officers shall then seize the firearm, package as evidence, and forward the firearm…to the St. Louis County Firearms Lab, to determine if the firearm has been used in the commission of a crime.”
“This is an outrage, and it violates Fourth and Fifth Amendment provisions regarding illegal search and seizure, and due process,” stated SAF Founder Alan Gottlieb. “Chief Wolf’s vehement anti-gun attitudes and his long-standing opposition to concealed carry for Missouri residents are well known. By issuing this order, Wolf is clearly allowing his personal biases to influence how he runs his department.
“Seizure of a firearm for no other reason than blind suspicion to find out whether it’s been used in a crime amounts to a legal fishing expedition, and tramples all over such long-standing legal principles as ‘innocent until proven guilty’ and ‘probable cause’,” Gottlieb added. “Chief Wolf is a vocal opponent of concealed carry in Missouri, and he even allowed himself to be quoted in a 1999 Handgun Control news release.
“By ordering his men to seize all firearms—and there is no indication in his memo that there should be any exceptions, despite his claims of officer discretion to the contrary—Chief Wolf is practicing a new, and contemptibly low form of harassment,” Gottlieb observed. “Law-abiding Missouri gun owners should not be fearful of driving through Hazelwood, and having their property confiscated, pretty much on a whim, because Chief Wolf doesn’t like a new gun law. Has this guy ever heard of the Bill of Rights?
“Missouri gun rights activists,” Gottlieb concluded, “are justifiably concerned that Chief Wolf’s order could result in a tragic incident that might later be used to justify his opposition to the citizens’ right to bear arms. If Wolf wants to practice politics, he should first get out of law enforcement. This kind of demagoguery should not have the protection of a police chief’s badge.”