Police confiscated firearms from 74-year-old Ralph Gilbertsen, although he is not a felon or domestic abuser, and he has never been ruled dangerous to others because of mental illness.
Gilbertsen, who lives in Richfield, Minnesota, believes in Bigfoot and UFOs. And while he does receive treatment for a “mild” mental health disorder, the Star Tribune reports that a psychologist sent a letter to the judge in the case, stating that “Gilbertsen is compliant with his medications and poses no danger to himself or others.”
A former Marine, Gilbertsen is also a concealed carry permit holder, which means he passed the in-depth background check required to obtain such permit, and he was the proud owner of three handguns, until the police knocked on his door.
He came to the attention of authorities after individuals at his apartment complex reported that he constantly talks about the government watching him; he particularly voices concerns that the CIA is spying on him. The Hennepin Community Outreach for Psychiatric Emergencies (COPE) called police about Gilbertsen after his apartment managers expressed concern about a series of letters he had written on CIA spying. COPE handles roughly 13,000 cases–only a third of which are face-to-face–and they asked police to escort them to Gilbertsen’s apartment in 2015. His guns were subsequently confiscated.
Richfield Police Department spokesman Lt. Mike Flaherty said, “Officers are often forced to make snap judgments about an individual’s mental health.” He added, “The street cops nowadays have to be a psychologist. People don’t wear nameplates saying ‘paranoid schizophrenic.’ So the police have to go in there and make judgment calls.”
According to VICE, Joseph Olson, emeritus professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Minnesota, simply sees a man who is “eccentric.” Olson observes, “That’s not a crime in America.”
Gilbertsen is suing to get his guns back.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.