What Can I Do if a Gun Dealer Won't Return My Guns?
If the items are irreplaceable, you might be able to bring a replevin action to recover the items. Otherwise, a conversion action may be brought is money can compensate for the loss of the items. Conversion is a action brought in civil court to recover the value of personal items of property, wrongfully converted by another to his own use. The action seeks a remedy for the conversion, not the taking of the item. If the items are of a unique nature, so that money can’t replace the item, a writ (official order) of replevin may be sought in court. A replevin petition seeks the return of the particular items taken.
Conversion is when someone wrongfully uses property of another for their own purposes or alters or destroys it. In an action for conversion, the taking of the property may be lawful, but the retaining of the property is unlawful. To succeed in the action, the plaintiff must prove that he or she demanded the property returned and the defendant refused to do so. Damages may be recovered for the replacement value of the property as well as for the loss of its use. Conversion is very similar to theft, but is a civil action, not a criminal action.
Please see the following Iowa statute:
714.1 Theft defined.
A person commits theft when the person does any of the following:
1. Takes possession or control of the property of another, or property in the possession of another, with the intent to deprive the other thereof.
2. Misappropriates property which the person has in trust, or property of another which the person has in the person's possession or control, whether such possession or control is lawful or unlawful, by using or disposing of it in a manner which is inconsistent with or a denial of the trust or of the owner's rights in such property, or conceals found property, or appropriates such property to the person's own use, when the owner of such property is known to the person.
a. Failure by a bailee or lessee of personal property to return the property within seventy-two hours after a time specified in a written agreement of lease or bailment shall be evidence of misappropriation.
b. If a time is not specified in the written agreement of lease or bailment for the expiration or termination of the lease or bailment or for the return of the personal property, failure by a lessee or bailee to return the property within five days after proper notice to the lessee or bailee shall be evidence of misappropriation. For the purposes of this paragraph, "proper notice" means a written notice of the expiration or termination of the lease or bailment agreement sent to the lessee or bailee by certified or restricted certified mail at the address of the lessee or bailee specified in the agreement. The notice shall be considered effective on the date of the mailing of the notice regardless of whether or not the lessee or bailee signs a receipt for the notice.
3. Obtains the labor or services of another, or a transfer of possession, control, or ownership of the property of another, or the beneficial use of property of another, by deception. Where compensation for goods and services is ordinarily paid immediately upon the obtaining of such goods or the rendering of such services, the refusal to pay or leaving the premises without payment or offer to pay or without having obtained from the owner or operator the right to pay subsequent to leaving the premises gives rise to an inference that the goods or services were obtained by deception.
4. Exercises control over stolen property, knowing such property to have been stolen, or having reasonable cause to believe that such property has been stolen, unless the person's purpose is to promptly restore it to the owner or to deliver it to an appropriate public officer. The fact that the person is found in possession of property which has been stolen from two or more persons on separate occasions, or that the person is a dealer or other person familiar with the value of such property and has acquired it for a consideration which is far below its reasonable value, shall be evidence from which the court or jury may infer that the person knew or believed that the property had been stolen.
5. Takes, destroys, conceals or disposes of property in which someone else has a security interest, with intent to defraud the secured party.
6. Makes, utters, draws, delivers, or gives any check, share draft, draft, or written order on any bank, credit union, person, or corporation, and obtains property, the use of property, including rental property, or service in exchange for such instrument, if the person knows that such check, share draft, draft, or written order will not be paid when presented.
Whenever the drawee of such instrument has refused payment because of insufficient funds, and the maker has not paid the holder of the instrument the amount due thereon within ten days of the maker's receipt of notice from the holder that payment has been refused by the drawee, the court or jury may infer from such facts that the maker knew that the instrument would not be paid on presentation. Notice of refusal of payment shall be by certified mail, or by personal service in the manner prescribed for serving original notices.
Whenever the drawee of such instrument has refused payment because the maker has no account with the drawee, the court or jury may infer from such fact that the maker knew that the instrument would not be paid on presentation.
7. Obtains gas, electricity or water from a public utility or obtains cable television or telephone service from an unauthorized connection to the supply or service line or by intentionally altering, adjusting, removing or tampering with the metering or service device so as to cause inaccurate readings.
8. Knowingly and without authorization accesses or causes to be accessed a computer, computer system, or computer network, or any part thereof, for the purpose of obtaining computer services, information, or property or knowingly and without authorization and with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession, takes, transfers, conceals, or retains possession of a computer, computer system, or computer network or any computer software or computer program, or computer data contained in a computer, computer system, or computer network.
9. a. Obtains the temporary use of video rental property with the intent to deprive the owner of the use and possession of the video rental property without the consent of the owner.
b. Lawfully obtains the temporary use of video rental property and fails to return the video rental property by the agreed time with the intent to deprive the owner of the use and possession of the video rental property without the consent of the owner. The aggregate value of the video rental property involved shall be the original retail value of the video rental property.
10. Any act that is declared to be theft by any provision of the Code.