In Oregon, Jared Padgett [not shown] stole his brother’s rifle, ammunition, magazines and a bag to carry them in. The teenager entered a Reynolds High school locker room and fatally shot fellow student Emilio Hoffman. Padgett then shot and wounded a teacher. Jared’s brother Lucas asked the police to return the rifle and accessories, valued at over $2,000. But even though there will be no trial (Jared Padgett committed suicide in a bathroom stall), the city administration refused, citing a vague “evidence” requirements . . .
Court documents show that Lucas Padgett is asking the following items be returned:
1 Daniel Defense armament DDM4 carbine rifle (a variation on the well-known AR-15)
8 30-round Magpul magazines
Several hundred rounds of ammunition
1 “plate carrier” bulletproof vest
1 U.S. Army-issued laundry bag
The family took their claim to court; a major expense that exceeded the value of the rifle. Lucas Pagett appears to be taking a principled position that the rifle is his property. He had not committed a crime. The government has no right to keep his property without any due process.
In the papers he says the items are ‘no longer needed for evidentiary purposes’ by police, and that he has ‘never been charged with any offense connected’ with the weapon.
Judge Michael Greenlick [above] ordered the city to return the rifle and accessories to the owner. He’s given them 45 days to file an appeal.
The thought of the weapons that … were used to commit that horrific crime going back into the community is objectionable, in sort of a general moral outrage sense. For sure, I get that,” the judge said. “But unless there is a law prohibiting it, then the law as I read it requires that the property be returned.
We salute Judge Greenlock for resisting the emotional demands of civilian disarmers and the media to destroy the valuable property. To do so would be a return to the superstition of the Middle Ages, where it was held that inanimate objects could be judged responsible for illegal acts. This was known as deodand law. But even Medieval deodand law did not call for the destruction of the instrument, rather its confiscation by the state to be used for godly purposes.
Modern proponents of the deodand theory don’t want confiscated firearms sold, the proceeds used to somehow better society. Rather, they want them destroyed as political theater demonstrating that firearms themselves are “evil” and destruction of them is a pious act in the Church of Progressive Causes.
These are purely emotional responses, contrary to what is ordinarily done with other legal property involved in crimes. As a society, we don’t require that vehicles involved in fatal traffic accidents be destroyed as an offering to the gods of political correctness. We don’t require that homes in which a murder has occurred by bulldozed to appease the Church of Progressivism. But somehow it’s a logical next step to require the destruction of a gun that had been used in a murder.
Property is an extension of a person’s life. People expend their time and energy to legally acquire property. Property is required in order to live. Property is required in order to exercise and take advantage of the protections of the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, and by extension, Tenth amendments to the Constitution. Without property rights, the other rights are rendered moot.
Judge Michael Greenlick did the right thing. He’s TTAG’s Gun Hero of the Day.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.