Virginia Uses Red Flag Law for the First Time to Confiscate Firearms

Virginia gun owners held a massive (peaceful) rally in Richmond to protest new gun control laws. (Photo: VCDL)

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s anti-gun agenda is in full effect, and the state’s new “red flag” law was implemented this week to confiscate the firearms from a man deemed to be suicidal.

A 45-year-old man in the town of Winchester was forced to surrender two semi-automatic pistols and a pump action shotgun after making what police said were a number of suicidal statements, local media reports.

Law enforcement will hold the firearms for 180 days, after which time they can request another hearing to keep the firearms in their possession.

Phil Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, pointed out in an interview with GunsAmerica that the state already had a law intended to deal with suicidal individuals.

“The truth is, red flag didn’t do anything that existing Temporary Detention Order wouldn’t have done,” he said. “The Temporary Detention Order would actually get the person some help, where the red flag doesn’t.”

SEE ALSO: Virginia Senators Want to Take State Gun-Control Reforms to Federal Level

The Winchester man was taken to a local hospital after someone saw him leaving a store in an “agitated state” and holding some kind of ammunition feeding device, local media reports. When police found him, he was searching through his trunk for what police said was a gun. When police tried to seize the firearm, he became angry and made statements including “I’m not going to say I’m going to kill myself, but I’ll speed up death,” “I’m on the fast track to death” and “I wake up crying every day.”

The next day a judge ordered the man to surrender his firearms. The man didn’t attend the subsequent hearing at which the judge ordered his firearms be held for 180 days.

Van Cleave said that the red flag law has been used in at least one other instance in Fairfax County involving a man who stabbed people at a local church. He also said his group is watching a case of a “fraudulent red flag,” but he declined to comment further.

SEE ALSO: Virginians Need to Rally to Stop Local Gun Bans!

Winchester was one of only a handful of towns and counties in Virginia that refused to become a Second Amendment sanctuary following the Democratic takeover of the state legislature. The surrounding county voted to become a sanctuary, as did the nearby town of Berryville. In total, 147 counties, towns, and cities in Virginia are Second Amendment sanctuaries, accounting for about 94 percent of the state.

At a January 14 meeting of the Winchester City Council, members voted on a party-line 5-4 vote to strike down a resolution making Winchester a Second Amendment sanctuary.

“I’m of the opinion that I cannot support a Second Amendment Sanctuary City simply because I can’t ask for our law enforcement and our administration not to uphold laws that the State has required on us,” Councilor John A. Willingham said at the time.

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • bryan August 10, 2020, 10:40 am

    “some kind of ammunition feeding device”…huh???

  • Dave Langley August 10, 2020, 7:33 am

    Does the “state” not have a reasonable right to attempt mitigating a mentally ill person from hurting himself or others? If you believe that suicide is morally wrong, and that the state has an inherent right to make attempted suicide a crime, how can you not agree that reasonable red flag laws applied reasonably are not within the vital interests of government? Sure, someone can kill themselves using a knife or other means. But guns provide a cleaner and faster way to commit the act; and, are often amenable to spontaneous acts.

    Let’s find some common ground here, rather than pouting about it. Let’s take a stand where we have a meritorious argument rather than proving what the leftest say about gun owners; that is, we are all unreasonable, back woods, uneducated offs who spend most of the day making and drinking moonshine made in our bathtubs. I know that is untrue so let’s pick our battles with a little care, rather than being intransigent all the time.

    Dave L.

    • FAL Phil August 10, 2020, 8:58 am

      Bring back the state mental institutions and re-institute involuntary commitment.

    • Steve P. August 10, 2020, 12:01 pm

      Well said. I have been saying more or less the same thing for a while and DON’T belong to the NRA for the same reason.

  • Mike Wilson August 8, 2020, 8:33 pm

    Red Flag Laws are extremely Unconstitutional and have gotten innocent people killed. They violate due process, strip people of their rights and property guaranteed in our Constitution. Red Flag laws need to be removed and stopped immediately before more innocent people get their rights violated or killed while these Unconstitutional laws are being carried out.
    More proof that Liberalism is a mental disease. Only a Communist/Fascist/Leftist/Liberal/Progressive/Socialist Democrat would be for these Red Flag Laws. Virginia has gone down the tubes under their KKK rope wearing or Blackface wearing ( We still don’t know which one ) Governor.
    How many more of our rights and how many more innocent people are going to be killed over these Unconstitutional Red Flag Laws before people stand up ? The death count of people killed over these Unconstitutional Red Flag property confiscations continues to go up.

    • FAL Phil August 10, 2020, 8:55 am

      That’s what I am thinking. I also have questions about due process. Not only that, under this law, what if BLM started reporting each individual police department employee under this law?

  • Kenneth Jamin August 7, 2020, 7:49 pm

    In the case of the man whose firearms were confiscated because he stabbed some people at a church, I wonder if they also confiscated his knives?

  • John August 7, 2020, 6:19 pm

    Give them an inch and they’ll take a mile. By whose lawful authority does anyone decide whether or not an individual is a danger to society merely based upon randon uninvestigated verbal comments. Removing an individual’s rights w/o proper validated reason, based on the internal fears of others is wrong.

    It seems that those in authorative control may now infringe on anyone’s rights and freedoms simply based on the unproven fears of craven cowards. Some people see boogymen everywhere and demand people be locked up because they are considered scary by their own personal fears. Some people simply need to face their fears instead of acting like a “chicken Little.”

    • Kane August 8, 2020, 10:31 am

      Yeah, remember when Barry Soetoro aka Barack Hussein Obama assured the American public that the “affordable care act” would NOT cover illegal immigrants?

      • FAL Phil August 10, 2020, 8:56 am

        Illegal aliens. “Immigrant” implies legality.

  • Winston August 7, 2020, 4:49 pm

    The takeover in Virginia is the Dem-Bolshevik-Soros blueprint for the states east of the Miss. River. The West Coast is already lost.

  • skipNclair August 7, 2020, 4:11 pm

    I was hoping to hear they took them away from the governor as they determined he was a threat to the people, the state, and himself.

  • anonymous4u4me August 7, 2020, 4:09 pm

    I was hoping to read they took them away from the Governor because they determined he was a threat to the people, the state, and himself.

  • II GUN August 7, 2020, 2:08 pm

    So he went home and took a bottle of pills or slit his wrists or drove his car off a cliff or into a lake or jumped off a bridge or pulled a knife out on a cop and the list goes on! If he really wanted to commit suicide taking his gun away will only piss him off worst and antagonize him and maybe what really flips his switch to do it! IDIOTS!!

    • Pat August 10, 2020, 7:45 am

      Just goes to show you that peaceful protests aren’t going to accomplish a damn thing. The only thing tyrants respect is force and in order for rights to survive under tyrannical leadership, their capacity and willingness to use violence to enforce their will must be matched or exceeded by the populace.

  • EW August 7, 2020, 10:33 am

    So I wonder what these law enforcement magistrates will do when other higher laws are usurped, subverted, or nullified by lower/lesser magistrates like governors, mayors, and town councils. Are you going to enforce an order to go murder every child under 10 years old when some magistrate declares it be done, and has the backing of x number of people or a “vote on a party line”? Ignoring God’s law, then ignoring the US Constitution below that, never goes well. These lesser magistrates and law enforcement have to be able to see that in the history of the world and our nation. I know many of the law enforcement officers just don’t care and are sinful, rebellious human beings like the rest of us…but I’d find it hard to believe that the majority of them are.

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