Mass. PD Gets Flack For Seizing Guns

Robert Stoddard's seized guns in the bed of a pickup truck
Robert Stoddard's seized guns in the bed of a pickup truck, along with what appears to be an old sign for his street. photo from guns.comweb photo

This week, we reported that the Cohasset Police Department in Massachusetts seized a collection of almost 100 guns from a 65-year-old resident because he was reported to not be in compliance with a state law that requires a locking device be installed on any gun in one's own home if it isn't in a safe or locked container.

Apparently, there has been some backlash.

The Cohasset PD posted about the incident on Facebook, which was viewed more than 650,000 times by people all over the nation, many of whom expressed outrage in the comments section, saying the gun owner's Second Amendment rights were violated, according to this story from patrioledger.com. The post has since been taken down.

The story says Chief Bill Quigley was also busy fielding calls from states as far away as Texas and Alabama about the issue. Some callers were angry about how the gun owner, now identified as Robert Stoddard of Doane Street, was treated.

Under Massachusetts law, all firearms must be secured in a locked cabinet or with a trigger lock. it is the only state that has such a law.

"They apparently do not understand the gun laws in Massachusetts and think we trampled on the Second Amendment," Quigley said in the story. "Whether it is a good law or a bad law, we have to enforce it ac act in the best interests of the community."

The story says Stoddard "became the subject of an investigation last week when police followed up on complaints about his behavior, including that he had been seen relieving himself outside his home on his property, and on a report from a credible source about unsecured firearms strewn about the house.

“While executing a search warrant, police removed about 100 unsecured weapons, including shotguns, rifles, and pistols. A Navy unit out of Newport, Rhode Island took custody of five military-grade ordnance shells also found int he home. Police also found grave markers in the home allegedly taken from the cemetery across the street.”

His license to possess firearms, which was valid, has been revoked based on the unsecured firearms and the behavior complaints, the story says.

In photos released by police, an old-fashioned street sign for “Doane Street” was on the bed of the pickup truck along with Stoddard’s seized firearms.

The story says all the firearms were examined by the police department's armorer and weapons expert before they were "taken to the police station for safekeeping."

Stoddard has been charged with three counts of desecrating a grave, five counts of receiving stolen property, three counts of improper storage of a handgun, and possession of a firearm with obliterated serial numbers. He must appear in court on May 3 to answer the charges.

The story says that agents from the ATF are assisting local police with the case and that the graves Stoddard allegedly desecrated were that of a serviceman, a firefighter, and a police officer.

So what will become of the guns?

Police said in the story they are speaking with one of Stoddard's family members, who doesn't live in town, to see if the guns can be returned to the family. If not, they will be sent to a bonded warehouse for storage—but that will come at a fee that the story says can exceed the value of the firearms.