We’ve been saying this was going to happen since the first “gun violence restraining order” or “red flag” law went into effect in California. It was just a matter of time. Two Maryland police officers were attempting to enforce a red flag order and confiscate the guns of a 60-year-old Anne Arundel County man who didn’t want to turn over his firearms.
As the Baltimore Sun reports, two officers knocked on a gun owner’s door bright and early this morning . . .
Two Anne Arundel County police officers serving one of Maryland’s new “red flag” protective orders to remove guns from a house killed a Ferndale man after he refused to give up his gun and a struggle ensued early Monday morning, police said.
The subject of the protective order, Gary J. Willis, 60, answered his door in the 100 block of Linwood Ave. at 5:17 a.m. with a gun in his hand, Anne Arundel County Police said. He initially put it down next to the door, but “became irate” when officers began to serve him with the order, opened the door and picked up the gun again, police said.
That’s when a struggle ensued over the gun.
One of the officers struggled to take the gun from Willis, and during the struggle, the gun fired but did not strike anyone, police said. At that point, the other officer fatally shot Willis, police said. Neither officer was injured, police said.
The order was apparently issued following a family dispute.
Police had come to the house Sunday night to speak with Willis, a longtime resident of the neighborhood, said Michele Willis, who was on the scene Monday morning and identified herself as his niece. She attributed that visit by police to “family being family” but declined to elaborate.
She said one of her aunts requested the protective order to temporarily remove his guns.
Gun control advocates have pushed for these laws in states all across the country over the last few years as a way to get firearms out of the hands of those who friends or family members claim shouldn’t have access to them. The problem is that none of these laws have adequate due process protections for the targets of the confiscation orders. They’re enforced first and then the burden is on the gun owner to prove why he or she should have their firearms returned.
Mr. Willis won’t be the last gun owner to object to a knock on the door by police officers attempting to confiscate his firearms, no matter what the circumstances behind the order.