It must be a sickening feeling when agents show up at your door and say they have come to take away all your guns. But that’s exactly what happened to a California man when agents confiscated all 18 of his guns, 5 of which were handguns.
When several agents showed up at his door, the Bakersfield man was asked questions about his guns. That’s when he got a sick feeling in his stomach and felt something was not quite right.
You can expect this kind of thing to happen more and more as California wages war on gun owners across the state. If they are willing to use charges that don’t even exist any more to confiscate guns, it shows they are desperate to demonize gun owners at an escalated level.
According to Bakersfieldnow.com,
“It’s just the worst feeling,” Merritt told Eyewitness News. “It’s a loss of your liberty, of your rights. I almost passed out when they said they wanted all my guns.”
Merritt said that was the night of Nov. 5. Several agents arrived at his door and started asking questions about which guns he owned.
“I thought, he’s here to get my guns for some reason,” Merritt described. “He says, ‘You have a felony here from 1970.’ I said, ‘A felony? A pot possession charge from 1970.'”
The gun owner said the officers showed him a print-out of the charge. It lists the offense under a code of 11910, from a Los Angeles community. Merritt said he remembers the incident from more than 40 years ago, and he doesn’t think the charge is on the books now.
“Doesn’t exist anymore,” Merritt argued. “I mean, it’s a ticket now days.”
Eyewitness News checked the penal code, and 11910 doesn’t show up.
Merritt also disputed whether the charge was ever a felony.
“I truly, honestly don’t remember pleading guilty to any felony,” he said. “The jail time was like five weekends.”
He remembered getting probation and a fine of about $100.
Merritt said the agents still took the guns. They seized five registered handguns, plus some weapons his wife owns and some he’d inherited.
The couple protested, but didn’t get far.
“We told them to leave the house and go get a warrant, and they said that’s fine,” wife Karla Merritt said.
“But, when we get the warrant and we come back, you’re going to jail,” agents reportedly told the couple.
Michael Merritt said he had to get to work, so they let the agents take the guns.
The agents were with a special state unit tasked with checking the lists of registered gun owners against databases showing people who are not allowed to have weapons. It was set up under a 2001 law, Senate Bill 950, which created the Armed and Prohibited Persons System (APPS).
“APPS cross-references five databases to find people who legally purchased handguns and registered assault weapons since 1996 with those prohibited from owning or possessing firearms,” reads a fact sheet from the office of Attorney General Kamala Harris.
The unit falls under the Bureau of Firearms in the state Department of Justice. An assistant chief with the Bureau of Firearms confirmed to Eyewitness News that Merritt was on the APPS list, showed up as having a felony conviction, and agents had cross-checked the two lists.
The spokesman said the agents took the information to an analyst who ran it through different databases, and they got a print-out showing the conviction.
Merritt said several days after his guns were taken, an agent called back to say his guns would be returned.
“I asked him, ‘Why did you do this? What’s going on?’ He said, ‘We made a big mistake,'” according to Merritt.
On Nov. 21, Merritt said several officers came back and returned all the guns.
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