Police chief faces possible criminal action
September 11, 2009
By KAREN VELIE
In addition to questions about how Paso Robles Police Chief Lisa Solomon left her loaded gun last year in an unlocked police car, Solomon faces possible criminal actions due to her failure to properly register her handgun, according to the state Attorney General’s Office.
Solomon’s failure to report the transfer of her gun as required by California laws is a crime punishable as either a misdemeanor or a felony, said Christine Gasparac, press secretary for state Atty. Gen. Edmund G. Brown Jr.
In recent interviews with CalCoastNews, Solomon has provided different scenarios about where or from whom she received her semi-automatic hand gun from. Initially, she claimed to have “purchased it from an agency a long time ago.”
Then, on Dave Congalton’s talk show on San Luis Obispo radio station KVEC 920 AM, she said Wednesday that she couldn’t remember where the gun came from. Then, a few minutes later, she admitted that she received the gun from an ex-husband sometime after 1991.
According to a California law passed in 1991, all firearms purchases and transfers – regardless of the owner — must become registered through the Dealer Record of Sale process. However, in transfers between spouses or parents and their children, an application to the California Department of Justice with a transfer fee is a second handgun registration option.
In February 2008, Solomon’s loaded, unregistered .380 Sig Saur was stolen from her unlocked police car outside of her Paso Robles home. A few days later, an Atascadero police officer recovered the gun during a search of a burglary suspect’s car.
In addition to the gun, the driver, dressed all in black and wearing gloves, was also in possession of seven to eight rounds of ammunition, a black replica handgun (determined to be a BB gun), a pair of walkie talkies, a chrome “butterfly” knife, and a drug pipe according to Atascadero police.
Officials from the Atascadero Police Department let the driver go on his way and confiscated the gun, which they subsequently returned to Solomon.
California penal codes prohibit police agencies from returning unregistered weapons to their owners regardless of whether or not they are members of the law enforcement community, according to Penal Code 12021.3.
“It should have been in our database showing that she is the registered owner,” Gasparac added
“The owner should have applied for eligibility to the Department of Justice, unless the firearm was already in the Attorney General’s system data (in order to claim an unregistered weapon).”
According to Gasparac, the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s office is responsible for taking any criminal actions warranted against the chief.
District Attorney officials said that their policy is to only respond to written complaints from law enforcement agencies. Either the Paso Police Department or the Atascadero Police Department would have jurisdiction.