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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

MILLER: Injured vet’s guns stolen by D.C.

By Emily Miller Washington Post After being injured on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, Lt. Augustine Kim spent the night in a D.C. jail for possessing unregistered guns. Mr. Kim was transporting his firearms from his parents’ house in New Jersey to South Carolina when he stopped at Walter Reed in Washington for a medical appointment in the summer of 2010. After being pulled over, handcuffed, arrested, thrown in jail overnight, his guns were confiscated by the city. In the end, the platoon leader felt forced to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge, which was later dismissed, but the District still refuses to return to him $10,000 worth of firearms and parts. The national guardsman will deploy to Kosovo this summer. The city should return his property before he leaves to serve our nation overseas for the third time.
Wounded Vet Mr. Kim, an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank platoon leader, was the liaison officer to a specialized unit in Afghanistan, when he was injured in a vehicle crash. He broke multiple bones on the left side of his face and shattered his right arm. He was medivaced to Germany, where he spent two weeks getting treatment. He then spent three months in and out of the hospital at Walter Reed to get necessary facial surgery to fix his cracked lower orbit. Before deploying, the soldier had taken his gun collection to his parents’ house in New Jersey for safe storage. At the end of his recovery, he drove to the Garden State to pick up the supply and transport it to his home in Charleston. He had one Colt Carbine AR15 rifle 6920 5.56/.223, a Beretta 92S in 9mm, a custom Springfield Armory 1911 in .45 caliber. The national guardsman’s hobby is building and working on 1911 models, so he had spare parts, including a frame, barrel and upper receiver. Arrested Driving Through D.C. Returning to South Carolina on June 30, 2010, Mr. Kim stopped at Walter Reed for a doctor’s appointment. Afterwards, he got lost while driving his two-door Honda Civic in downtown D.C. in the evening. He was pulled over by police. The officer said that his driver’s license had been suspended. He was unaware of this. He found out the next morning that it was wrongly suspended due to a clerical error in which North Carolina incorrectly reported to South Carolina that he didn't pay a speeding ticket. Mr. Kim called and had this cleared up the next morning. However, because of the suspended license, the D.C. police officer called for backup, and told Mr. Kim he would have to go to the police station. Then the cops asked Mr. Kim if they could search his vehicle. The lieutenant agreed because his guns were properly locked in a case in the trunk, in compliance with federal firearm transport laws. Mr. Kim was handcuffed and told to sit on the curb during the search. He recalled that the officers inspected the collection and “were upset about the fact that I had the AR-15, which D.C. considers to be an ‘assault weapon.’” The model of rifle is illegal in the District, but not in his home state. The officers then told Mr. Kim he was in violation for the carrying firearms outside the home (in his vehicle) in the District. The nation’s capital does not acknowledge the right to bear arms, so there are no carry rights. “I told them I had been under the impression that as long as the guns were locked in the back, with the ammunition separate, that I was allowed to transport them,” Mr. Kim told me in an interview. “They said, ‘That may be true, however, since you stopped at Walter Reed, that make you in violation of the registration laws.” It is illegal to possess a firearm anywhere in D.C. other than the home. Mr. Kim’s attorney, Richard Gardiner, said his client was lawfully transporting the firearms, and that would have been his defense if the matter went to trial. “The mistake he made was agreeing to a search of his vehicle,” the attorney explained in an interview. “If the police ask for consent to search, the answer is ‘no.’ If they ask, ‘why not?’ The answer is, ‘no.’”

1 comment:

  1. Sure he is a nice guy or whatever but this is just a big ball of fail.

    First he takes a bunch of guns to one of the most anti gun places in the US. Extenuating circumstances and whatever but still not smart. Leaving them in a holiday inn in Virginia would have been a great move.

    Second he gets pulled over. If you have/ are doing something you shouldn't then pay attention to the frickin traffic laws. More folks probably get caught for driving a couple miles over the limit or failing to signal or whatever than anybody is willing to admit.

    Lastly why in heavens sake would you let a cop search your car if you have stuff in it that you should not? A locked foot locker would have taken a search warrant to get into. A search warrant they probably wouldn't have tried to get and may not have gotten anyway.

    The laws in our nation should not be this way. I am sympathetic and all. However the guy really did this to himself.

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