Florida ACLU Petitions for Return of Man’s Guns

So reports the Sun-Sentinel:

Fort Lauderdale attorney Barry Butin, a cooperating attorney for the ACLU of Florida’s Broward Chapter … is representing the gun owner, Pompano Beach retiree Robert Weinstein….

“Under the Second Amendment, he has a right to have his guns in his house. He’s not a convicted felon,” Butin said. “It is unusual for the ACLU. But the ACLU supports all constitutional rights. We don’t pick and choose.”

Brandon Hensler, the ACLU of Florida’s communications director in Miami, said: “This is the first time I know of in the ACLU’s 90-year history that we have advocated on behalf of a citizen to have their weapons returned from law enforcement.”

Weinstein, a retired bar and restaurant owner from Hartford, Conn., had his weapons seized in February after Dana, his wife of 61 years, died. He told the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office that he wanted to “blow his head off,” according to a sheriff deputy’s report.

He said he was upset because three weeks after Mrs. Weinstein died, her ashes still hadn’t shown up at the funeral home that was to bury them.

Weinstein’s call to the medical examiner prompted a visit from a sheriff’s deputy, who took the widower to a hospital for evaluation.

Weinstein said he agreed to surrender his Colt semi-automatic .25-caliber pistol and his Wesson .357 revolver, along with ammunition and holsters, for safekeeping after authorities insisted on it….

Mila Schwartzreich, assistant legal counsel for the Sheriff’s Office, said her agency has no choice but to keep Weinstein’s weapons. She said the Sheriff’s Office is not objecting to returning the guns, but needs a court order first….

Robert Weinstein insists authorities took his comment about killing himself out of context. And although Florida’s Baker Act allows people with mental illnesses to be involuntarily admitted to a hospital, that did not happen to him.

Note that such litigation decisions are generally made by each individual chapter; other chapters might have other views, and still other chapters might well have defended gun rights before. Thanks to Dan Gifford for the pointer.

UPDATE: Thanks to commenter Go Horns!, who pointed to this 2007 story about the Texas ACLU “join[ing] with the Texas State Rifle Association and the NRA to fight local prosecutors who are defying a law aimed at protecting law-abiding Texans from being arrested for having guns in their cars.”