Police Return Guns to Prohibited Person, then Call ATF to Re-Arrest Him

Police Return Guns to Prohibited Person, then Call ATF to Re-Arrest Him

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- Steven Drew Montana was a welder at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Mississippi. In February 2016, Montana complained to the security officer at the shipyard that people were stealing his property from the yard.

The NCIS officer thought Montana was experiencing “some mental issues” due to the way that Montana was acting. The security officer confiscated Montana's work badge and told Montana to immediately leave the shipyard. Montana complied with the order, but he would later return to his work site claiming people forced him to take drugs and were following him.

The officer notified Pascagoula police about his concern about Montana's mental state. The cops stopped Montana's truck, and in their opinion, he was acting erratically. Police found several firearms in Montana's vehicle. He wasn't committing a crime, but he was violating Ingalls policy about guns on company property, which is not an arrestable offense. The police were still concerned about Montana's mental health, so they took him into custody.

Soon after, Montana, 26, had the rest of his guns seized by police on a court order. A Chancery Court judge committed him to a state mental institution in Purvis for 10 days in March 2017. Doctors cleared him of any mental issues, and they later him released without any medications. He wanted to get back the guns that police seized from him.

Montana went to court and successfully obtained a court order 9 months later for the return of his firearms in December 2017. The Pascagoula police honored the request and returned his guns including an AK47 rifle and a Glock pistol stating that his mental health seemed OK.

Montana would later return to the police station on Feb. 6. This time he was stating that Ingalls security was following him. He went on to claim that he knew of a murder that took place and someone at the shipyard was the murderer.

The police did not believe his claim. It was at this time that the Pascagoula Police realized that they released firearms to someone committed to a mental hospital. Capt. Shannon Broom notified the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as Ingalls security about Montana outrageous claims as well as his past history.

Once committed to a mental institution, Montana became a prohibited person. He was legally not allowed to possess guns. The ATF used this violation of the law to obtain an arrest warrant for Montana.

On Feb. 26 2018 Federal authorities arrested Montana on federal firearms charges of possessing weapons as a prohibited person. Authorities are currently holding him without bond.

In court documents Montana's defense attorney, Melvin G. Cooper, question if Capt. Broom knew or should have known that Montana was a prohibited person. He claims that it was the local police department that broke the law and not his client.

Cooper is asking U.S. District Judge, Sul Ozerden, to dismiss the charges against his client. He is laying the blame at the feet of Capt. Broom and the Pascagoula Police Department for giving the guns back to a prohibited person.

Montana's trial is set to begin in May 2018.

Ingalls Shipbuilding, a builder of Navy warships and the largest employer in Mississippi, did not return our request for comment.

The Pascagoula Police Department informed AmmoLand News that they do not have a public statement at this time on Montana's trial and referred us to the BATF.

The BATF did not return our request for comment.

About John CrumpJohn Crump

John is an NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people from all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the left's attempt to deplatform and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, on Facebook at RealJohnCrump, or at www.crumpy.com.

  • 47 thoughts on “Police Return Guns to Prohibited Person, then Call ATF to Re-Arrest Him

    1. @PA John,
      Yes John, a lot of detail missing in the article. It does not sound as if he was adjudicate mentally ill, then sent to the institution; just sent for observation, then released. It appears then that he was not a danger to himself or others. It also appears that he was not a danger to himself or others and should not been sent for observation in the beginning (he never threatened to hurt anyone or himself, and had no history of doing so; unless information on the subject is missing). If we were to involuntary commit for observation everyone who “acted strange”, or who based on any accuser “has mental issues” or any other vagueness of accusation, and these constituted loss of 2nd. Amendment Rights; no one would have 2nd. Amendment Rights.

    2. The way the article is written leaves a very important detail unclear to me. Someone can be involuntarily held for some period of time for observation, usually for up to 72 hours but this time limit can vary in different states, and then they MUST legally either be found to be mentally ill and committed to a mental institution, OR, be declared NOT to be a danger to themselves or others, and then released by the end of that maximum allowable time period. That is the law as written to prevent abuse of the system. In the latter case they have NOT been diagnosed as having any sort of mental illness and have NOT been formally committed to a mental hospital. Being involuntarily held for observation and then released is not legally the same as being diagnosed and committed to a mental institution. This is a very important distinction when it comes to your 2nd Amendment rights.

      In the former case, if he was held for up to the maximum time allowed under that state’s “psych hold” laws and then officially DIAGNOSED as having some mental illness and COMMITTED to a mental institution, he loses his 2nd amendment rights.

      In the latter case, if he was only held for up to the maximum time allowed under that state’s “psych hold” laws and then released on his own recognizance, he has NOT been diagnosed has having whatever sort of mental illness and he was NOT then committed mental hospital, so he most definitely did NOT lose his 2nd amendment rights. He was only held, observed, and released, all according to the law.

      So now you see the importance of that vague little detail in this article. Was he ordered to be be involuntarily held under that states “psych hold” laws and then released (meaning he was never diagnosed as mentally ill and never committed to a mental institution), or does the judge in that state somehow have the magical power to simply pronounce someone as being “mentally ill” without any medical professionals having any say in the issue? Obviously, judges can most certainly remand someone to the “psych ward” to be involuntarily held for observation for up to the maximum time allowed for in that state’s psych hold laws, but he cannot just arbitrarily declare someone to be mentally ill under the law. He simply doesn’t have the authority.

      So everything boils down to, was the guy only held for up to the maximum time allowed and then released? In that case he has NOT lost his 2nd Amendment rights under the law. Period. Give him back his damn guns.

      Naturally, officials are very slow to make this distinction clear (involuntary psych hold / release versus being formally diagnosed and committed) because as a general rule you don’t want people who have been acting strange enough to get held in the psych ward and then released to get their guns back too quickly, if at all. So they just kind of keep this important little detail quiet, so to speak.

      I knew a woman who was suddenly and tragically widowed years ago, and in her grief she said some things that worried people enough that she ended up in the “psych ward” at the local hospital for 72 hours. She was then released – meaning as required by law she was declared not to be a danger to herself or others – and that was the end of that as far as the law was concerned. She then went on for DECADES believing that this meant she had been “committed to a mental institution” and therefore could no longer own guns, and this is simply not the case under the law. She had been involuntarily held for observation and then released after 72 hours. She was never formally diagnosed nor committed to a mental hospital. It took a good lawyer friend and 3 different local cops to all tell her the same thing until she finally went to a local gun store, honestly filled out the 4473 form saying NO to all the questions about ever having been committed to a mental hospital (because she was not, she was only involuntarily held for observation and then released), and now she enjoys her 2nd Amendment rights same as anyone else.

      You can understand why certain people in authority might be really really slow to point out the difference between an involuntary psych hold followed by release within the maximum time allowed for in that state’s psych hold laws, and actually being diagnosed as having some sort of mental illness and committed to a mental hospital after that, but the truth is the truth and so there it is. Know. The. Law.

      1. Sounds to me like the abusers of the law and the citizenry should be held civilly and criminally liable, without limits. obviously, this won’t happen, but in my view it should.

    3. I can’t imagine a jury finding him guilty of being a prohibited person in possession. It would be reasonable for a person to assume being declared to be in good mental health, that he was therefore not prohibited (Yes, I know – the law does not always follow reason and logic). It would also be reasonable to assume a court wouldn’t order ones guns returned and the police return them if it wasn’t legal. You’d get a hung jury or an aquital because there’d be at least one juror who called BS.

      Enforce his prohibited person status going forward (unless he gets his right to possess legally restored), but no way do you get to charge him with the original crime when he had the court de facto tell him it was legal.

      1. Did you read the same article that I did?

        The local cops gave guns to a guy who had been committed to a mental institution against his will, IE, involuntary commitment even though it was just for evaluation!

        Now, if the law stipulates that that then classifieds Montana as a prohibited person, the Pascagoula PD with full knowledge of Montana having been committed, gave guns to a prohibited person, which is a freaking felony!

        If an ordinary, average citizen we’re to do the same thing, except as a sale, we would be arrested as having committed a freaking felony!

        So how, in your Nifty little world, is committing a felony not breaking the law?

        1. “Did you read the same article that I did?”

          Sounds like you read a different article. This one stated that they were ordered by the court to return the guns. They complied. That’s how it works. Tough break for the guy. It sounds like he has some serious issues.

      2. WHAT????
        So based off your comment, I take it that you believe that law enforcement and the FBI in Florida did nothing wrong either?
        Just out of curiosity, have you had a mental health check? Are you delusional? Or do you believe that the government can do no wrong?
        If this is the case, then maybe you also believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and honest politicians!

        1. “So based off your comment, I take it that you believe that law enforcement and the FBI in Florida did nothing wrong either?”

          So based off your comment, I take it that you have not stopped beating your wife?

          “Just out of curiosity, have you had a mental health check? Are you delusional?”

          Are like a crazy person or something? You seem obsessed. Please get help.

          “Or do you believe that the government can do no wrong?”

          I never said anything like that. Ooops, wait, I forgot… in your fantasy maybe I did.

          “If this is the case, then maybe you also believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus and honest politicians!”

          Damn that’s brilliant! You got me there. Say hello to Santa when you see him!

    4. What about all the convicted felons caught with a firearm, they let them off with a slap on the wrist they don’t hold them in jail like they have this Montana guy.
      Also if Montana has a mental issue are they holding him in a mental hospital or in jail?

    5. It appears the police failed to investigate his claims, and out of arrogance, superior attitude, negligence, etc. did not believe him. Then after they failed to do their job or to justify not doing their job, they made effort to have a sane man committed when in fact his statements could have been true or were not true but for the fact the drugs the man had taken caused him to hallucinate? He was not involuntarily committed by an anti-second amendment police psychiatrist. He was committed by a Judge, but it is unknown if he was represented at the hearing before the judge and had a forensic psychiatrist as part of his defense before the judge had committed him.
      This is a new game they are playing to take away 2nd. Amendment rights…allowing police to take on the role of “psychiatrist” using phrases such as “the police were concerned about him”, “police said he was acting strange”, “police said he was experiencing some mental issues”, etc. The negligent/derelict/failing police got the ball rolling, and a Judge committed him based on what police said which was false. Furthermore, he made no threats that he was going to hurt himself or anyone else. They could do this to anybody. Sounds like a good civil lawsuit against Pascagoula Police Officers and their Department at minimum. Upon assessment, there are attorney’s who will take this case for a third of the action.

      1. Sounds to me like the abusers of the law and the citizenry should be held civilly and criminally liable, without limits. obviously, this won’t happen, but in my view it should.

      2. When the citizen screws up, they are liable for punishment. It seems however that the story is different with “law enforcement” and their screw ups. The French have a saying, Vivre la difference, Long live the difference.This isn’t France though, so how come “law enforcement” is hardly ever called to task for it’s screw ups? Indeed, how come.

    6. @GDubb: Nothing like presenting the old “would you rather I take away the Rights of your neighbor or the guy down the street?”. It’s a diversionary tactic and, sorry, not gonna fly here or anywhere else. “Well, let’s just take away the Rights of the Catholics because I’m not Catholic and it won’t effect me”. Want to try that one again?

    7. “Doctors cleared him of any mental issues, and they later him released without any medications”
      In other words , Doctors gave him a CLEAN BILL of HEALTH…… so WHY is he Disqualified to own firearms…

    8. This brings up an interesting question; Were the police Chief’s, the police department’s actions so outrageous so that sovereign immunity can be pierced and they can be prosecuted?

        1. Depends on what you mean by penetrate.
          States and the feds can waive immunity and officials acting outside their legal jurisdiction are not granted immunity.
          So no, it is not penetrateable, but one can argue in court that certain actors have acted outside the what is covered and thus liable.

          As for who grants it, that is a power governments grant to themselves. It comes from the English commonlaw idea that the king can do no wrong.

    9. According to the op-ed;
      There was a “murder/killing/death” that occurred in/on the ship yard.
      The arrested individual stated; “someone at the ship yard is a murderer”,
      The “murderer” at the shipyard has been “tailing him”.
      This op-ed slants the arrested person by stating that he is “OUTRAGEOUS” in his claims.
      Why did the “police” not believe him?
      Did the “police” investigate the arrested man’s claims?
      Being sent temporarily for an evaluation by a “judge/police force” does not permanently remove your God given RIGHT to PROTECT yourself.
      IF the man was prohibited from having weapons, then the “police force” broke FEDERAL LAW when they returned the man’s LEGALLY OWNED MATERIALS.
      IF the man was prohibited from having weapons, then when the “police” informed the “atf”, THEY broke federal law because of THEIR involvement.
      These are questions that MUST be answered.

      1. These questions will never be answered because you are dealing with cops and they answer to no one. A cop can not be fired. The FOP will lie him out of any trouble. The only way to get rid of a cop is with a bullet.

        1. The anti-cop troll has, once again surfaced and convinced us all that he too is one who should come underbthe heading of those who are mentally challenged.

      2. Sounds like maybe the shipyard shelled out some cash to whoevers in charge to stfu about the death and to figure out a solution to this do gooder that has murder info.

    10. A person can be a “bit off” without being mentally ill. That is the entire problem with the mental health law. If you entire a mental health facility because of the loss of a spouse or child to get help dealing with the grief, does that make you you a danger to society when it comes to firearms ownership. According to law you would be yet they could never find a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist or otherwise that would say that. A court of law would not be able to declare that you are a danger yet the police could arrest you and take away your guns. This seems to be the case here without the “grief” portion of the scenario. What makes a person who is seeking help in certain non dangerous mental health scenatios, (ie grief, eating disorder, fear of heights, to name a few) someone who must abandon a constitutional right? What you will create is far more dangerous in that legal gun owners will never seek relief for non dangerous mental health problems.

      1. Exactly right and that’s the rub here. If we want the gun grabbing libtards to leave us and our guns alone we need to find a way to make these mass shootings stop. Factually, the common denominator is mental illness and the drugs which are prescribed. It is unfortunately becoming apparent that somebody’s second amendment rights are going to be trampled at some point whether we like it or not. Who’s rights would we prefer are removed? Everyone’s? Or just the group of the most likely potential offenders?

        1. It starts at home and how kids are raised.Hell when I was in school a lot of the time in the fall there was a gun in the back window,knife on my side. You didn’t have all this shit back then,because we were raised right. You learn to respect your parents and your elders. I could be at a neighbors house an get my ass busted an you better tell your parents when you got home or you would get it again. You have TV shows kids disrespecting their parents and it’s a big laugh. I have never saw such disrespectful little brats as kids these days.My mother was 79 when she passed away and I have never ever raised my voice to her.So if you want these school shootings stopped,start at home. I am 60 oldest boy 38 Senior Chief in Navy,youngest 36 E8 in Air Force an they would never ever raise their voice to me.So it’s all in have their raised.It’s called respect an I have the utmost respect for them because they earned it.

        2. The problem with your solution, and your point of view, is the old one of feeding others to the crocodiles hoping that you’re the last one that the crocodiles will eat!

          The sad fact my dear fellow, is it the crocodiles are going to eat whomever they desire whenever they desire, and that happens to include you, whether you accept that fact or not!

          Wake up and smell the cordite, will you? The anti-gunners will attempt to take all of our guns away, and your willingness to throw other gun owners under the bus, or in this case to the crocodiles, proves that you are in fact and insufferable turncoat.

        3. @GD, You must not fall for the false logic that removal of Civil Rights will end evil acts. The only way to stop evil acts is to stop evil actors. I, myself, would go back to public hanging. So that people could see what would happen to them if they do not discipline themselves.

    11. He had a court order 9 months later ,
      giving his guns back ! Didn’t at that
      point and time he become allowed
      to possess firearms ? Sounds like
      he got set up . Somebody wanted
      one or more of his guns for themselves !
      Like the cops who first arrested him .

          1. @Matt in Ok, I suspect that Andy’s arrest record, would preclude joining you and serving his community in that way. Such mindless hate does not occur absent some misbehavior.

      1. Conspiracy to obtain guns for themselves (whomever “Themselves” are), the fellow was granted a COURT ORDER. Therefore LE was complying with the COURT ORDER.
        Let’s look to the JUDGE in that ruling before disseminating further responsibility for the release of the firearms.

      1. @JD
        That’s what I’m saying !
        If he wasn’t supposed to have
        them, Why wasn’t he charged
        for having them ?(when they took them)
        Also , The Judge apparently perceived He ,
        was Legally entitled to have them Back !
        BAD CALL ? They Need to Check out the Docks,
        and his story also.

        1. I agree with a bad call from the court …”Montana went to court and successfully obtained a court order 9 months later for the return of his firearms in December 2017. ” I can’t blame the police for the return of the guns as the were ordered by the court to do so. Seems like the court blew it as once adjudicated due to a mental health issue he is not to have firearms, period A court would have to clear (erase/expunge) all records to make it OK for him to have guns again. The story doesn’t say that the court did that – only that they ordered the guns returned.

    12. In my opinion there are more souls in Washington D.C. that need mental help than there are at Ingalls Shipbuilding in Mississippi. It has been in the news for years.

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