Nassau County, NY Sheriff’s Department Policy Keeps Guns After Expired Protection Order is Lifted

Update 7/22:  so much more information about the case from the NRA-ILA, read here, It has been 5 years since this woman’s guns were seized.

Update 7/20: this story has a pay wall so you might not be able to read the entire story.  To get around it, cut and past “Circuit Opens Door to Gun Recovery After Order Expires” into Google and the entire story should appear when you click on it.

From the July 18th New York Law Journal:

A federal appeals court said there is “no clear reason” why a Nassau County woman whose rifles and shotguns were taken away as part of a now-expired order of protection should not receive a hearing to determine if her weapons should be returned.  (more here)

….After Panzella’s ex-husband withdrew his petition to extend the order of protection in March 2013, Panzella asked to have her firearms returned. But the sheriff’s department refused to do so unless it received a court order, which is its policy.

Call or write Sheriff Sposato and tell him his policy of retaining firearms after a court order has expired violates civil rights and they need to change their policy.

Michael J. Sposato, Nassau County Sheriff, 100 Carman Ave., East Meadow, NY 11554.  Civil Enforcement No: 516-571-2120 (no email address was found)

More:  The Albany County Sheriff’s Department was contacted and they informed SCOPE that their policy is that after an order of protection has expired, and there are no other court documents, the firearms are returned.

here is an example letter:


Sheriff Michael J. Sposato
Nassau County Sheriff
100 Carman Ave.
East Meadow, NY 11554


Dear Sheriff Sposata:

I recently read in the 7/18/17 New York Law Journal and on the 7/21/17 NRA-ILA web site how your office confiscated firearms from Ms. Panzella in 2012 over an order of protection against her. I also read the order of protection did not require the confiscation of the firearms. When the order of protection expired, your office kept the firearms and refused to return them without a court order as was your policy.

I also read that since then there has been a federal court ruling stating that your office could not rely on your retention policy to keep the firearms without due process. Your case is now being discussed in Law Journals.

Change your policy! What you are doing by retaining the firearms is stealing. You Sheriff’s Office people that refuse to change the firearms retention policy should be ashamed of yourselves. Other sheriff departments do not have this policy. The fact that your case is being discussed in law journals and has gone to federal appeals court shows how wrong your policy is. Once it gets that far, it is government overreach.


I am a gun owner and I belong to a gun rights group and this case is getting gun owning voters riled up. As the sheriff I know you can change the policy, please do so and stop making a mess out of this case and Ms. Panzella’s life. Thank-you for your time.