Investigative reporter Richard Essex exposed this tyrannical practice in a Feb. 28 article published by Indianapolis TV station WISH 8. According to his piece, the more than 21,000 guns in the IMPD's property room – whether connected to a crime or not – have undergone ballistic testing at its crime laboratory. Test results are then sent to the ATF for entry into a national database.
According to the report, IMPD officers admitted that they never obtained search warrants to test the firearms. Moreover, the testing had been done as a matter of policy since the 1970s, as disclosed by IMPD Assistant Police Chief Chris Bailey.
"We went back and checked how long this has been going on," he told WISH 8. "A former employee who came on in 1973 [said] it was happening then in the 1970s. She worked another 30 years here and retired a couple of years ago."
While some of the firearms may have been used in a crime, most were from lawful gun owners. Thus, most gun owners are likely unaware that their firearms were tested or that the ATF now has their ballistic data included in a national gun registry. This ultimately makes the IMPD's decades-old practice a possible violation of federal law and an infringement of both the Second and Fourth Amendments. (Related: Miami police try, fail to explain how it’s legal for their department to ship guns to Ukraine.)
Attorney Guy Relford said the practice raises some legal questions.
"I think there are some real Fourth Amendment issues," he told the TV station. "The legal questions would be: Is it a search? Then, it is an unreasonable search? Because this is what the Fourth Amendment prohibits."
The attorney has also been receiving messages from disgruntled lawful owners of firearms seeking assistance to recover their guns from the IMPD. According to Relford, the police department's policy of getting a firearm returned to its original owner is tricky and time-consuming. Gun owners seeking to reclaim their firearms need a background check, fingerprints and proof of purchase.
"You have an awful lot of people who are being deprived of their property with no real legal basis to do so," he said. "It is actually not [their] property, and the constitutional violations are something to take a look at, too."
Following Essex's revelation, Bailey remarked that the IMPD is looking into the issue if it needs changing. He added that lawyers for the police department will examine and change policies if any violations of federal rules and the Constitution are found.
ATF Special Agent Daryl McCormick said data collected by the IMPD is sent to the bureau's National Integrated Ballistic Information Network for entry. He clarified, however, that the firearms data given to them is supposed to be for guns involved or suspected to have been involved in crimes.
"They have been recovered by police, but they should be suspected of use or recovered, for the most part," said McCormick. However, IMPD is sending data from every firearm – whether used in a crime or not – to the database, which could be a violation of ATF policy.
Essex ultimately remarked: "For legal gun owners, this story has been a sore subject for many, many years. It doesn't take long to find someone who has lost a treasured firearm and waited years to get it back."
He expressed pessimism with regard to the IMPD's change in its gun policy, explaining: "It's been over a month and I haven't heard a thing. I doubt they'll make any changes. They'll wait for someone to challenge this."
SecondAmendment.news has more stories about the infringement on the right to keep and bear arms.
Watch this video that reveals the ATF operating a searchable gun registry.
This video is from the GalacticStorm channel on Brighteon.com.