On October 1, 2018, Maryland’s new “red flag” gun law went into effect.
On November 5, 2018, the law claimed its first victim.
Officially called Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO), “red flag” laws permit police, healthcare providers, or family members (or pretty much anyone, really – let’s be honest here) 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 decides to issue the order based on statements and actions made by the gun owner. After a set period of time, the guns are returned to the owner unless another court hearing extends the period of confiscation.
Proponents of the law say it should not be seen as a “gun grab.”
As of November 8 – just a little over a month after the law went into effect in Maryland – 114 red flag warrants had already been served across the state.
Proponents of the law also claim it will “save lives.”
However, a life has already been lost because of the law.
Gary J. Willis, a 61-year-old Maryland resident, was killed by police when they showed up at his home at 5 am to serve him with a court order requiring that he surrender his guns.
Anne Arundel County Police said Willis answered the door with a gun in his hand. He initially put the gun down by the door, but “became irate” when officers began to serve him with the order and picked up the gun again, police said.
Sgt. Jacklyn Davis, a police spokeswoman, said “A fight ensued over the gun.” Police claim that as one of the officers struggled to take the gun from Willis, the gun fired but did not strike anyone. Then, the other officer fatally shot Willis, who died at the scene. Neither officer was injured.
Davis said she did not know who had sought the protective order against Willis.
But Michele Willis, the victim’s niece, said this was a case of “family being family,” reports The Baltimore Sun:
She said one of her aunts requested the protective order to temporarily remove Willis’ guns.
Michele Willis said she had grown up in the house and had been there Sunday night to move out her son, who had been helping to care for her grandmother.
She said her uncle “likes to speak his mind,” but she described him as harmless.
“I’m just dumbfounded right now,” she said. “My uncle wouldn’t hurt anybody.”
Willis said the officers should have continued to negotiate with her uncle.
“They didn’t need to do what they did,” she said.
Police Chief Timothy Altomare said the fatal shooting was a sign that the law is needed:
“If you look at this morning’s outcome, it’s tough for us to say ‘Well, what did we prevent?’ ” he said. “Because we don’t know what we prevented or could’ve prevented. What would’ve happened if we didn’t go there at 5 a.m.?”
Can you wrap your head around that statement? I can’t.
As far as we know, Willis never harmed anyone. Yet, he is dead…because of a law that was supposedly enacted to save lives. If Willis had a history of violence or a criminal record, the police department would surely be talking about it, using it as justification for the man’s murder.
In reality, red flag laws are ripe for abuse.
A new wave of dangerous laws is being pushed across the United States. These laws don’t require due process and your rights are removed without a crime ever being committed. If this sounds familiar, then it may sound like something out of “Minority Report” with Tom Cruise. Sadly, it isn’t a Hollywood blockbuster, it’s the new America. At least it will be if you don’t fight back.
“Red Flag” laws, also known as “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” or Gun Violence Restraining Orders,” have now passed in 12 states. Even some Republican-controlled states (Indiana and Florida) have passed these laws. They are dangerous to freedom, unconstitutional, and should be more properly termed, “Gun Confiscation Orders.”
As of the time of this writing, 13 states have red flag laws: Connecticut, Indiana, California, Washington, Oregon, Florida, Vermont, Maryland, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Illinois. More are surely coming. Bad ideas tend to spread, and cries for stricter gun control have grown much louder and more common.
Red flag laws are implemented differently in states have have them. Some limit these gun confiscation orders to “immediate family” members, Pruett writes. “But some states, like Oregon, are already expanding their orders to include neighbors, medical professionals, teachers, and other school staff.”
There is one aspect of red flag laws that is particularly chilling, as Pruett explains:
Remember, no crime has been committed, and the person who loses their rights does NOT get to defend themselves before those rights are removed. Some have the audacity to call this “due process.” It’s not due process if you aren’t part of the process. Going to court after your guns have been removed, to petition to get them back, is also not due process.
According to the Capital Gazette (five people were murdered by a lunatic with a vendetta at the newspaper’s Annapolis location back in June), Altomare said of the 19 protective orders granted in Anne Arundel County, his officers have handled nine – and seized “around 33 guns” in the process.
The Capital Gazette also reports that Altomere said while he is “cautiously optimistic” the rate of protective orders won’t increase too rapidly, the department is building a storage facility specifically to accommodate the increase in seized firearms.
According to a report by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland is expecting 1,342 red flag petitions in the first year of the law being in effect.
How many more deaths by cop will we see in Maryland by October 2019, then?
How many people who have never committed a crime will have their Constitutional rights violated due to this law?
As Scott Boyd of NOQ Report warns,
All it takes is a good story and a sympathetic judge to take away someone’s guns. In this case, it was a relative of the deceased who filed the petition after an incident that occurred in the beginning of the week. We don’t know the details so there’s no way to judge, but the notion that this incident is proof the law is working is the type of circular reasoning gungrabbers will use to encourage more confiscations.
Gary J. Willis isn’t dead because he tried to shoot someone. He is dead because someone convinced a judge that he might shoot someone, and now police are hailing this as a success. The PreCrime Departments are pleased with the results.
Red flag laws only benefit the government, and render “we the people” defenseless against the ever-growing police state.