Under what circumstances can the firearms be returned to the individual?
There are two ways in which a firearm that was seized would be returned.
- At the hearing to determine if the individual is “dangerous,” if the state does not prove its case by “clear and convincing evidence,” the law enforcement agency having custody of the firearm must return the firearm within five days.1
- At the hearing to determine if the individual is “dangerous,” if the state does prove its case and the firearms are kept by law enforcement, the individual can file a petition after 180 days have passed for a new hearing. At the hearing, the individual may be represented by an attorney. If the petition is filed within one year from when the firearms were seized, it’s the individual’s burden to prove that s/he is no longer dangerous. If the petition is filed after one year, it is the state’s burden to prove that the individual is still dangerous. If the judge determines that the individual is no longer dangerous, the judge must:
- order the law enforcement agency having custody of the firearms to return them within five days;
- terminate the order that prohibits the individual from having firearms; and
- removed the suspension of the individual’s license to carry a handgun so that the individual may reapply for a license.2
If the judge rules against the individual in the hearing and declares that s/he is still a dangerous individual, the individual must wait another 180 days before filing a petition for another hearing.3
Note: If at least five years have passed since a judge held the first hearing, then the judge may order the law enforcement agency having custody of the firearm to dispose of (get rid of) the firearm permanently. However, before ordering law enforcement to permanently get rid of the firearms, the judge must give notice to the parties and conduct a hearing.4
1 Ind. Code § 35-47-14-3(6)(f)
2 Ind. Code § 35-47-14-8(a)-(f)
3 Ind. Code § 35-47-14-8(g)
4 Ind. Code § 35-47-14-9