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James L. McLoud, owner of the Manchester Firing Line Range, lost his legal battle to get back nine rifles seized by the New Boston police chief executing a temporary restraining order against a New Boston man.
Hillsborough County Superior Judge Gillian Abramson dismissed the case this morning, saying the court had no authority to rule on the matter and that jurisdiction lies exclusively with the Goffstown District Court, Family Division, according to Hillsborough County Attorney Robert M.Walsh.
"The judge properly found the Family Division had authority over this matter and over the guns," Walsh said. "This was an attempt to do an end-run around Judge (Paul H. ) Lawrence's authority and the Goffstown Family Division and Judge Abramson would not allow it."
Police Chief Christopher L. Krajenka said he was elated by the judge's ruling which he considers the right decision.
"I did my job," he said. "There are still some people with very hard fellings about what has occurred. This was a case of domestic violence and it was turned into a guns rights issue. It was about protecting a victim of domestic violence and that's all it had to do with, at least from the department's view."
The weapons were owned by Michael Murphy of New Boston. On Oct. 1, he consigned 22 firearms to the firing range. Some of the weapons were sold and Murphy took back more which were allegedly sold to his friends, Walsh said. Nine rifles were left on consignment at the firing range.
Murphy was involved in a domestic violence case with his estranged wife who was granted a temporary restraining order barring him from possessing any firearms. The order has since been made permanent, Walsh said.
On Jan. 27, Krajenka went to the Manchester firing range and, acting on the temporary domestic violence order issued out of the Goffstown court, seized the nine rifles McLoud still had in his possession.
Krajenka said he was portrayed by some people as a rogue cop when, in fact, he had consulted with the county attorney's office.
McLoud maintained the weapons posed no threat because Murphy had to pass a criminal background check before he could regain possession of the guns - something McLoud said was impossible for Murphy because of the temporary domestic violence restraining order.
Walsh said New Boston police will keep the nine rifles as long as the court order barring Murphy from possessing firearms is in effect.