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.”
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.
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.