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The Blue Brief: What Happens to Your Gun in a Car Accident?

Our resident law enforcement expert walks you through what happens to your gun should you be in a car accident that leaves you unconscious.

Have you ever been driving down the road thinking to yourself, “traffic is running smoother than ever…”

But then you notice the sudden change of speed and brake lights?

Carjacking
When everything comes to a halt, you know it’s bad news.

You’re probably thinking, what now? What did someone do this time? 

Ahead you can see the dancing emergency lights — emergency red and blue lights bouncing off vehicles and highway signs.

That’s never good…

The fire department, ambulance services, and police all crowd around a vehicle or two on the side of a road while others frantically try to move traffic along to avoid another crash.

If you’ve passed one of these scenes, I bet you’ve probably wondered what happens to your firearm if you were the one unconscious or unresponsive in a vehicle crash? 

That’s a bad day…

I have been on many vehicle crashes, taking some pretty nasty crash reports in my days, so I have some experience in this area.

So, let’s talk about what happens to you and your gun in an accident.

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What Happens to Your Gun in an Accident?

Before we dive in, though, just a quick disclaimer. I’m not a legal expert, and this should not be construed as legal advice.

As always, you should check with a local attorney versed in firearms law or your local police force for the most accurate information specific to your area.  

As I mentioned, I have had plenty of experience working with crashes, but I wanted to get the perspectives of others who routinely handle this work.

So, I reached out to law enforcement agencies in Colorado to see how they handle concealed carry guns and car accidents.

Car Safes

Both Colorado State Patrol and the Sheriff’s Office explained that in an accident, police, and CSP would take the firearm and place it into evidence.

The officer who takes possession of the firearm will write a short report on why the firearm is in their custody. It’s then stowed until the owner is well enough to come in and pick it up.

Officer writing a police report
Officer writing a police report

Background Checks? Maybe…

In Colorado, once the injured person is ready to retrieve the firearm, they will need to come to the police station and clear a background check to regain possession of their gun.

That background check ensures there are no felonies or active warrants to prevent a person from possessing a firearm.

Background Check

Once that person clears the background check and no pending charges are against them, the firearm will be released back to them.

While that applies to Colorado, your area might be different. It’s always a good idea to contact your local agency and ask about their policy.  

Conclusion

So, in summary, if you’re in an accident while concealed carrying no need to worry about your gun hanging out in your crashed car or the back of an ambulance.

Womens Concealed Carry AIWB

Police on the scene will secure the gun and place it in evidence until you can come get it.

But remember that in some areas, you may need to pass a background check to take possession of it once more.

Have you ever been in a car accident with a gun? Let us know what happened in the comments below. Ever wondered what you should do in a carjacking to stay safe? Get tips from the experts on How to Survive a Carjacking.

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26 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Brady

    Hey man, so I live in Utah and was involved in a motorcycle accident a couple years back while I was carrying my gun. Interestingly from what I can deduce, because I was transported by ambulance and unconscious during most of the encounter, the responding officers retrieved my firearm, cleared the weapon and placed it in a bag with the magazine and ejected round. They then provided it to the hospital security staff for my retrieval once I was cleared after surgery. This took place in Salt Lake City and it was also during the height of covid restrictions. I'm not sure if that played a part in it, if it was just the decision of that responding officer, or a regular thing but that was my personal experience.

    December 15, 2021 8:14 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Cap

      Brady,
      You bring ups an excellent point. Were the officers just not wanting to write an additional incident report based on the incident because they would have to enter your firearm into evidence and not know much about Utah laws it could just been them throwing you a solid. Let me know what you think.
      -Cap-

      December 15, 2021 4:55 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Brady

        Ya know Cap I don't think that was the case. I briefly talked to the office when I was in the trauma room after I became conscious and finding out the extent of my injuries and he seemed cool, calm and relaxed in a good way. I asked about my firearm specifically and he just said we recovered it and dropped it off with hospital security. And like I mentioned I'm not sure if that's normal or not. Maybe I'll reach out to SLCPD tomorrow and ask them what their specific policy is and let ya know in the comments again.

        December 15, 2021 8:04 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Cap

          Brady,
          I would very well be interested in what they say, please keep me ;posted on what you find out.
          -Cap-

          December 15, 2021 9:42 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mikial

      That's because places like Utah, Wyoming and Idaho rock, unlike the Liberal haven of Colorado where you have to pass a background check to get your own property back. And don't even think about ever seeing it again in places like NY, NJ or California. It's gone forever.

      December 16, 2021 3:48 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Maggot4lyf

    So no one here thinks it's crap to have to do a background check to get your personal property back?

    December 14, 2021 5:51 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Len C

      I would assume the police were just making sure your legal to possess. You have to consider the situations they come across in the line of duty. Example, say some punk ass drug runner with felony record long as your arm comes into the station wanting their gun back. Likely they weren't legal to possess.

      December 15, 2021 4:41 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Cap

        Len,
        I absolutely agree. Most of those people are flagged in the system when they attempt to try and buy a firearm. From what I recall our dispatchers would receive information on the national and local computer when someone was attempting to purchase a firearm when they were unable to based on a restriction from the courts, but if they are that obtuse to come into the local law enforcement agency to attempt to collect the firearm after the back ground check showed "No Bueno" I honestly believe they get what they deserve. Thanks so much for your comment, much appreciated.
        -Cap-

        December 15, 2021 4:46 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Stagger Lee

      100%. I was just discussing this with my wife. Especially if you have a valid CCW permit. The permit itself is a whole other discussion.

      December 15, 2021 4:56 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Cap

        Stagger,
        Agreed, there is so much on this topic to discuss and depending on the laws where you live its a whole other discussion, if you have any questions drop me a reply and we can see where the discussion goes.
        -Cap-

        December 15, 2021 4:38 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Cap

      Maggot,
      I hear what you're saying, it can see where it could be an infringement on your inalienable rights, but let say a known bad guy loses a gun, not the responsible gun carrying citizen who had nothing to hide come and wants to collect a firearm, and just maybe he lives nearby, would you want to have some kind of interference before they're armed again? I promise you, when I swore my oath to protect and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic (We take the same oath as our military) I can see where it might come up as unjustified. If you want to discuss this further, let me know you make a good point.
      -Cap-

      December 15, 2021 4:52 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Maggot4lyf

        "No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
        Thomas Jefferson

        December 15, 2021 7:08 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          Cap

          Maggot4lyf,
          Jefferson is one of my favorites, great quote!
          -Cap-

          December 15, 2021 9:40 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Steve Eisenberg

    I have thought about this and I mostly never drive with a gun loose in the car. It's always on me in a holster or pocket.

    December 14, 2021 3:44 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Cap

      Steve,
      Same with me, but as we all know there are those very few that make us responsible gun owners look bad, luckily we out number the those few. Makes me happy when citizens carry, I've had some dicey situations with suspects and those gun carrying peeps have come by my scenes offering to help when back up was 30 minutes away, guess you truly are famous in a small town when I look back at it. Thank you for the post and stay ever vigilant my friend.
      -Cap-

      December 15, 2021 4:36 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Matthew Vinci

    When I totaled my truck my buddy came to the scene ( I called him ) and he informed the office that i carried the office asked if i give permission for my buddy to take possesion i said yes and it was given to my buddy

    December 14, 2021 11:55 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Cap

      Matthew,
      I always rely on the kindness of a great friend when in times of need. I am happy the officer was cool about the situation and there were no issues. Hope you're doing well after your crash, its hard to lose a good truck..
      -Cap-

      December 15, 2021 4:32 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    BassCliff

    I always CCW when I drive. This is good to know. I'll check local laws too. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

    December 13, 2021 11:12 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Cap

      BassCliff, You're welcome! thank you for taking the time to read this, much appreciated.
      -Cap-

      December 15, 2021 4:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    DW

    What the officers are doing is called property for safe keeping (assuming the firearm is not stolen and the person is not a prohibited person). It's not necessarily booked into evidence, it sits in evidence lock up until released. The whole point of it is not to give a firearm to someone while they could have TBI or not in a position to have the firearm. The report written is just to document the taking of the firearm for the property for safekeeping category. Usually the firearm taken from person; the person gets a slip of paper (property receipt) documenting what was taken and whom it was taken from so the person doesn't have a hard time getting the firearm back from property. Well that's at least how my department does it. In the rare case the firearm is unregistered then is falls in the hands of the DOJ and the person has to prove to the DOJ ownership of the firearm.
    -CA LEO

    December 13, 2021 1:44 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Cap

      DW,
      Exactly, thank you for your comment. How are things going for you in CA.?
      -Cap-

      December 15, 2021 9:38 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        DW

        Things are going ok. It has its good days and it’s bad. But that’s with any job. I’ve had thoughts about leave and lateraling else where but don’t really want to start of and be on the bottom of the food chain again. But overall, I can’t complain too bad I’ve got it pretty good where I’m at in terms of work wise. Just need a new DA to hold all people accountable and not just the ones that make the news.

        December 16, 2021 11:20 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ethan T Nuckolls

    Was in a roll over accident in Oklahoma and my handgun was ejected from the vehicle in its carry container. Local Sheriffs asked for me to unlock the box and they took it into their possession while I was in the hospital, They gave me back my handgun directly once I was discharged from the hospital that night at the ER.

    December 13, 2021 1:07 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Cap

      Ethan,
      Glad you're doing better also happy you had little problems getting your gun back. Thank you for sharing your experience.
      -Cap-

      December 13, 2021 1:47 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Daniel L

    That's way better than having the gun be left at the scene or in the vehicle. An informative read. Thanks, Floyd Capistrant.

    December 13, 2021 10:38 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Floyd

      You're welcome, Thanks for the comment.
      -Cap-

      December 13, 2021 11:07 am
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