Imagine returning home from multiple tours of duty, where you are asked to put your life on the line on a daily basis, only to find yourself sitting in jail for something the government pays you to do…. CARRY A GUN
Well that’s exactly what happened to Lieutenant Augustine while driving through Washington D.C. Ironically, our nation’s capital, the so-called center of freedom, doesn’t recognize the 2nd amendment right to bear arms. To make matters worse, they don’t even trust our soldiers who they send into harms way to carry one here at home.
Lieutenant Kim, who was at home being treated at Walter Reed Memorial Hospital for wounds that he received on the battlefield, was in the process of moving his belongings back home. Before being deployed, Lieutenant Kim brought his ten thousand dollar gun collection to his parents home for safe keeping. While at home, seeking medical treatment for his wounds, Lieutenant Kim decided to transport his collection back to his home in South Carolina.
He drove out to his parents home in New Jersey and secured the weapons in the trunk of his vehicle, according to federal firearms transportation law, and then set out for his home in South Carolina. In route from New Jersey he stopped in Washington D.C. for a scheduled round of treatment at Walter Reed Memorial Hospital.
And that’s when his troubles started….
After leaving his appointment at Walter Reed, Kim was pulled over by the D.C. police department. Because of some sort of clerical error, the police believed Lieutenant Kim was driving on a suspended license and asked to search his car. Believing that he had nothing to hide, Kim allowed officers to search his vehicle.
He was then handcuffed, arrested, thrown in jail, and his guns were confiscated.
Despite following federal firearms rules, set by the Firearms Owners Protection Act, and explaining that he was only trying to transport his gun collection home to South Carolina, Lieutenant Kim was arrested on four felony counts and then thrown in jail. Lieutenant Kim, a solider who put his life on the line for this country, was now facing up to 20 years in prison for transporting his legal firearms to his home in South Carolina.
According to the Washington Times, the police told Mr. Kim he was in violation of D.C. Law for carrying firearms outside his home. They didn’t care that he had followed federal transportation laws or that the firearms were locked up in the truck of his car. In their view, he was a criminal.
“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 the Times 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.
After months of court hearings, the U.S. attorneys office eventually knocked the felony charges down to four misdemeanor charges of possession of unregistered firearms. Kim’s attorney said:
“They offered this great deal with no trial and a virtual guarantee the charges would be dismissed for two reasons,” “They knew they had slight problem with the transport issue. And they knew he was a wounded vet. They just decided this wouldn’t be the best kind of case to get to trial.”
Eventually Lieutenant Kim, who is in the process of returning for another tour of duty in Kosovo, decided that his best option would be to accept the plea deal. After following the rules set by the court, the charges were eventually dismissed. His record however, has not been expunged and Lieutenant Kim still has the four firearms charges on his record. These charges could be used to block Kim from purchasing firearms in the future.
To add insult to injury, Washington D.C. is now refusing to return Lieutenant Kim’s expensive gun collection. The U.S. attorney’s office informed the D.C Metropolitan Police Department that Mr. Kim’s guns were no longer needed for evidence, but for some reason they are still refusing to return his guns.
Kim’s Lawyer told the Times:
“This is legalized theft, the charges were dropped, and they don’t give you your property back? The Constitution requires that if the government takes your property, it has to do something to keep it. They can’t sit around twiddling their thumbs.”