Recovery of improperly disposed of Department of Defense property
No member of the armed forces, civilian employee of the United States Government, contractor personnel, or other person may sell, lend, pledge, barter, or give any clothing, arms, articles, equipment, or other military or Department of Defense property except in accordance with the statutes and regulations governing Government property.
(b)Transfer of Title or Interest Ineffective.—
If property has been disposed of in violation of subsection (a), the person holding the property has no right or title to, or interest in, the property.
(c)Authority for Seizure of Improperly Disposed of Property.—If any person is in the possession of military or Department of Defense property without right or title to, or interest in, the property because it has been disposed of in material violation of subsection (a), any Federal, State, or local law enforcement official may seize the property wherever found. Unless an exception to the warrant requirement under the fourth amendment to the Constitution applies, seizure may be made only—
(1) pursuant to—
a warrant issued by the district court of the United States for the district in which the property is located, or for the district in which the person in possession of the property resides or is subject to service; or
pursuant to an order by such court, issued after a determination of improper transfer under subsection (e); and
after such a court has issued such a warrant or order.
(d)Inapplicability to Certain Property.—Subsections (b) and (c) shall not apply to—
property on public display by public or private collectors or museums in secured exhibits; or
property in the collection of any museum or veterans organization or held in a private collection for the purpose of public display, provided that any such property, the possession of which could undermine national security or create a hazard to public health or safety, has been fully demilitarized.
(e)Determinations of Violations.—
The district court of the United States for the district in which the property is located, or the district in which the person in possession of the property resides or is subject to service, shall have jurisdiction, regardless of the current approximated or estimated value of the property, to determine whether property was disposed of in violation of subsection (a). Any such determination shall be by a preponderance of the evidence.
Except as provided in paragraph (3), in the case of property, the possession of which could undermine national security or create a hazard to public health or safety, the determination under paragraph (1) may be made after the seizure of the property, as long as the United States files an action seeking such determination within 90 days after seizure of the property. If the person from whom the property is seized is found to have been lawfully in possession of the property and the return of the property could undermine national security or create a hazard to public health or safety, the Secretary of Defense shall reimburse the person for the market value for the property.
Paragraph (2) shall not apply to any firearm, ammunition, or ammunition component, or firearm part or accessory that is not prohibited for commercial sale.
(f)Delivery of Seized Property.—
Any law enforcement official who seizes property under subsection (c) and is not authorized to retain it for the United States shall deliver the property to an authorized member of the armed forces or other authorized official of the Department of Defense or the Department of Justice.
(g)Scope of Enforcement.—This section shall apply to the following:
Any military or Department of Defense property disposed of after January 6, 2011, in a manner that is not in accordance with statutes and regulations governing Government property in effect at the time of the disposal of such property.
Any significant military equipment disposed of on or after January 1, 2002, in a manner that is not in accordance with statutes and regulations governing Government property in effect at the time of the disposal of such significant military equipment.
(h)Rule of Construction.—
The authority of this section is in addition to any other authority of the United States with respect to property to which the United States may have right or title.
(i)Definitions.—In this section:
The term “significant military equipment” means defense articles on the United States Munitions List for which special export controls are warranted because of their capacity for substantial military utility or capability.
The term “museum” has the meaning given that term in section 273(1) of the Museum Services Act (20 U.S.C. 9172(1)
The term “fully demilitarized” means, with respect to equipment or material, the destruction of the military offensive or defensive advantages inherent in the equipment or material, including, at a minimum, the destruction or disabling of key points of such equipment or material, such as the fuselage, tail assembly, wing spar, armor, radar and radomes, armament and armament provisions, operating systems and software, and classified items.
The term “veterans organization” means any organization recognized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for the representation of veterans under section 5902 of title 38
(Added Pub. L. 111–383, div. A, title III
, § 355(a), Jan. 7, 2011
, 124 Stat. 4195
; amended Pub. L. 112–239, div. A, title X
, § 1076(e)(5), Jan. 2, 2013
, 126 Stat. 1951
2013—Subsec. (g)(1). Pub. L. 112–239 substituted “after January 6, 2011,” for “on or after the date of the enactment of the Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011”.
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