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Police Invade New Jersey Veteran’s Home, Try to Confiscate Guns Without a Warrant

By: Teresa Mull

Two boys discussing what to do in a school shooting situation resulted in police invading one of the boy’s homes to confiscate his father’s guns, various sources report.

“[Leonard Cottrell, Jr.], 40, said he was working at Wawa on June 14 when he got a call from his wife around 9:30 p.m. that two police officers from the New Jersey State Police’s Hamilton station were at the doorstep of his Millstone home,” nj.com reported.

“The troopers, who patrol this sprawling Monmouth County township, were there, he said, because his 13-year-old son had made a comment at school about the Millstone Middle School’s security, and the officers wanted to confiscate Cottrell’s firearms as part of an investigation.”

“No one from the state was going to take my firearms without due process,” said Cottrell, who was deployed to Iraq three times.

“[Cottrell] said his wife allowed the officers to enter the home, and with her permission, they searched his son’s room -- but they did not find any weapons, he said,” reported nj.com. “The officers, he said, didn’t have a warrant but still wanted to take his guns. Cottrell wouldn’t let them.”

New Jersey State Police said troopers took action as part of “a possible school threat,” but “determined that Mr. Cottrell’s weapons did not need to be seized.”
Cottrell agreed to keep his guns outside of his house until police finished their investigation; his son was forbidden from returning to school.

“It is outrageous and unacceptable that a student’s concern for lax security at his school could result in an attempt to confiscate his parents’ own firearms,” said Scott L. Bach, executive director of the Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs and a member of the NRA board of directors.

“In the Garden State, the usual approach is to confiscate first and ask questions later, and victims of this approach often don’t know their rights,” Bach said. “‎In this case, the victim pushed back and confiscation was avoided — but the circumstances surrounding the incident are outrageous. A student expressing concern over lack of security is not a reason to send police to the student’s home — but it might be a reason to send police to the school to keep students and teachers safe.”

Bach says police use “intimidation tactics to bully citizens into voluntarily surrendering their firearms under the confusion and fear of an unexpected visit from law enforcement.” Gun owners, Bach says, “should always call counsel before consenting to a seizure of firearms.”

“The terrible violation of Second Amendment rights this American hero has had to endure at the hands of law enforcement officers, whose job it is to keep us safe, not take away our ability to defend ourselves, is a disgrace and should serve as a wake-up call for all citizens of what will happen in every house across this country if we do not resolve to stand firm in fighting gun control,” said Dudley Brown, President of the National Association for Gun Rights.

Teresa Mull is editor of Gunpowder Magazine. Contact her at teresa@gunpowdermagazine.com.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Gunpowder Magazine.