NJ Troopers Try to Confiscate Guns, Vet Says No

New Jersey just experienced what is likely one of the first tests of gun confiscation laws that sprang up in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

Leonard Cottrell Jr. refused to let police seize his firearms without a warrant.
Leonard Cottrell Jr. refused to let state police in NJ seize his firearms without a warrant.photo from nj.com

New Jersey just experienced what is likely one of the first tests of gun confiscation laws that sprang up in the wake of the Parkland shooting.

Leonard Cottrell Jr., a disabled vet who served three tours during Operation Iraqi Freedom, told NJ.com that two New Jersey State Troopers came to his home on the evening of June 14 to perform a search and confiscate his firearms, a pistol and a shotgun, despite not possessing a warrant not do so. Cottrell contends that he has all the necessary permits that the state requires.

The attempted seizure stems from a comment that his 13-year old son allegedly made regarding security at his school, Millstone Middle School. Governor Phil Murphy recently signed a law that permits police to confiscate guns from an individual if they pose a threat to themselves or others.

"He didn't do anything wrong, and he doesn't understand why it happened—he was just having a conversation with nothing as far as threats. It shouldn't have blown up the way it did." Cottrell said in an interview with NJ.com.

According to the NJ.com story, Cottrell left work and went home after receiving a phone call from his wife stating that the two troopers were there. She gave them permission to search their son's room, where they found no weapons, but the police were interested in taking his firearms even though they didn't have a warrant. He wouldn't let them.

"No one from the state was going to take my firearms without due process," Cottrell said in the NJ.com story reporter. He went on to say the Troopers "danced around the issue" when queried about the new law.

The two parties came to an agreement in which Cottrell would remove his guns from his home and keep them elsewhere until the investigation had run its course.

NJ.com reports it eventually received comment on the story from Sergeant First Class Jeff Flynn via email which said, "Troopers responded to Mr. Cottrell's residence in reference to the report of a possible school threat. Based on their investigation, it was determined that Mr. Cottrell's weapons did not need to be seized."