When accusations trump the nation’s Bill of Rights, people die. No better example exists than the Nov. 5 shooting death by police of an elderly Maryland man in his own home.
Early that Monday morning, one of two Anne Arundel County Police officers slaughtered 61-year-old Gary Willis inside his home while attempting to serve a protective order to remove firearms from his home under Maryland’s “red flag” law. Maryland’s red flag law enables an anonymous source to accuse people of potentially being a danger to themselves or others, and the state will remove any firearms from the home.
The two police officers attempted to serve the protective order on Willis at 5:17 a.m. in Ferndale, Maryland. Willis, quite possibly fast asleep just prior to the police officers’ arrival, understandably answered his door with a firearm in his hand. Maryland and the Baltimore area in particular have experienced high rates of violent crimes which could also explain why he answered the door with his gun on him.
Police say Willis put down the gun when he saw it was cops at the door, but became angry and picked it up upon learning the reason for the officers’ visit. The officers say a struggle ensued, during which a shot was fired but hit no one. Police then shot and killed Willis.
The reason for the state issuing the protective order and sending armed police to Willis’ home in the early hours of the morning to seize his firearms is unknown. The Baltimore Sun reported Willis’ niece, Michelle Willis, said one of her aunt’s requested the protective order, but said her uncle was harmless and not a threat to anyone, including himself. She did not say why her aunt requested the protective order.
Barring a court order, Maryland law, does not enable others to view requests for protective orders. Such secrecy virtually assures anyone with a grudge against a lawful gun owner in Maryland can make a false accusation that results in the loss of a lawful gun owners Second Amendment right to bear arms.
Maryland’s red flag law is a classic example of knee-jerk legislation enacted out of emotionally charged reasoning with little thought given to how it will impact the innocent. Maryland is one of eight states to enact red flag laws in the wake of the Stoneman Douglas High School shootings in Parkland, Fla. Thirteen states now have red flag laws in place, with several more considering enacting them.
While the red flag laws are intended to prevent senseless murders and deaths, studies show that is not the case. Law and Contemporary Problems journal in 2016 published a study indicating Connecticut’s red flag law enabled 762 removals of firearms, from 1999 to 2013. Those removals potentially averted one suicide for every 10 to 11 gun seizures, the journal reported. While the Connecticut study suggests a small percentage of suicides might be stopped by removing firearms from some homes, thus far, there is no indication to suggest the law has stopped a single murderous act.
If the intent of most red flag laws is to prevent murders and mass shootings, the evidence does not support that conclusion. The evidence only shows such laws might stop a very small percentage of U.S. citizens from using firearms to take their own lives. The evidence does not indicate whether those who might have been stopped from committing suicide might opt for other measures.
Among liberals, the notion seems to be that assisted suicide is absolutely okay. So long as a medical doctor is the one to end your life, you made a wise decision, and no one can question the morality or sanity of ending your life. Choose to do so privately and with one of the fastest and most efficient means possible, though, and you suddenly are a danger to yourself and others, according to the liberal mindset.
Whether Willis truly was a danger to himself or others society never will know. Certainly, he was denied due process. Odds are, an elderly man answering a knock on his door with a pistol in his hand just prior to sunup in a city renowned for its recent extreme violence and wanton destruction of private property is a man who wants to continue living. People do not arm themselves for protection if they plan on dying.