Anne Arundel County police shot and killed 61-year-old Gary J. Willis while executing a firearm confiscation order under Maryland’s red flag law.
Anne Arundel County police chief Timothy Altomare suggests the incident proves the importance of red flag laws.
The Capital Gazette quoted Altomare saying the two officers who went to Willis’s home around 5 a.m. “did the best they could with the situation they had.” He added, “If you look at this morning’s outcome, it’s tough for us to say ‘Well, what did we prevent?’ Because we don’t know what we prevented or could’ve prevented. What would’ve happened if we didn’t go there at 5 a.m.?”
Police say that Willis initially had a gun in hand when he answered the 5 a.m. knock at his door. He put the gun down when he realized officers were knocking, but he picked the gun back up when he ascertained the officers had come to take his firearms.
The officers tried to wrestle the gun away from Willis and it went off, striking no one. But one of the two police officers fired a shot in response, killing Willis.
The details behind the issuance of a confiscation order against Willis have not been reported. All that is known is that a niece said one of her aunts requested the order.
WBALTV quoted Anne Arundel County police Sgt. Jacklyn Davis saying:
Not only are we going to a house to take somebody’s guns, we know they’re armed. We know they have guns, but we have the court telling us this person is mentally unstable enough, that they can’t have guns, that’s the whole point of this order. We don’t have discretion on that at all. It’s an emergency order.
Maryland’s red flag law took effect October 1 and law enforcement predicts over 1,300 confiscation orders will be issued by the end of the year.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.