Last year, two police officers that were ordered to confiscate firearms from a house on a “red flag” protective order fatally shot a man in Maryland.
Anne Arundel County Police arrived at the home of 61-year-old Gary Willis at 5:17 a.m. to remove guns from the home under a new law that temporarily allows for the seizure of firearms if a person shows “red flags” they are a danger to themselves or others.
Initially, Willis answered the door of the home with a gun in his hand, but he put the gun down once he realized it was police officers. However, when the officers told Willis they were there to confiscate his guns he became irate and picked up his gun.
The officers and Willis fought over the weapon until one of the officers drew his firearm and fatally shot Willis. Neither of the officers was injured.
Authorities haven’t released the reason why the “red flag” order was issued by a judge. However, Michele Willis, the man’s niece, told The Baltimore Sun that one of her aunts requested the protective order against Willis, but she declined to say why.
She said police stopped by the home to speak with her uncle where he lived along with several other family members. According to the niece, her uncle “likes to speak his mind,” but “wouldn’t hurt anybody.”
What is a Red Flag Law?
A red flag law is a law that permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.
A judge makes the final determination to issue the order based on statements and actions made by the gun owner. The guns are returned to the person from whom they were seized after a specific amount of time unless another court hearing extends the period of confiscation.
Currently, 13 states have some form of a red flag law and many other states have them in the works.
The major problem with many of these laws is that police officers can confiscate guns and THEN go to a judge to obtain a court order. There is no doubt these types of laws will be used (and abused) more and more.
This is why you’ve got to support gun rights organizations so they can do their best to fight back and keep these laws as “honest” as possible. Meaning, I think we can agree that if someone beats his wife and is threatening to kill her, he shouldn’t have a gun.
On the other hand, an innocent person shouldn’t get his guns taken away just because his ex-wife or ex-girlfriend hates him and makes false statements. (It leads to a slippery slope of a loss of our rights.)