by Cat Ellis, The Organic Prepper:
Due to the recent mass shootings, there is a major push for so-called “red flag” gun laws at both the state and federal levels. These laws are the latest tool for gun control advocates to confiscate guns from people based upon only tips and suspicion. No crime has to be committed to trigger an investigation or confiscation.
Red flag laws violate multiple rights protected by our constitution. The Hill has an excellent article on how red flag laws violate more than the 2nd Amendment, including:
Hopefully you’ll never commit a mass shooting, murder, or violent assault. But while you might not have a criminal connection to such individuals, you do share at least one thing in common: you both have unalienable rights. The right to face your accuser. The right to due process. The right to protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Every one of these rights are explicitly violated under red flag laws. (source)
What could possibly go wrong?
Just ask Brandon Wagshol and his dad, from the anti-gunner haven state, Connecticut.
Brandon’s No Innocent Angel
Before I write anything else, let me be clear. Wagshol is not some squeaky-clean, innocent angel. He wrote some vile racist and transphobic tweets. He also seemed to taunt the FBI in his tweets, which certainly isn’t the smartest thing in the world to do. That being said, holding bigoted views is not the same things as acting on those views. Voicing his bigoted opinions, while disgusting, is not a criminal act. The First Amendment protects his right to voice his hate in the same way that it protects flag burning. No one has to like it, but it’s not a criminal act.
Wagshol may also have been caught in a few lies made on Facebook. According to Norwalk police Lt. Terry Blake:
A Facebook page for the younger Wagshol said he was a former U.S. Marine and worked at the Department of Homeland Security as a janitor. Blake said both of these statements on Facebook are untrue. (source)
Wagshol also admitted to purchasing four 30-round magazines at a Bass Pro Shop in New Hampshire to circumvent Connecticut law limiting magazines to ten rounds. Wagshol is now facing four felony counts for possessing those magazines. Whether or not you support Connecticut’s ban on 30-round magazines, he will be found guilty under current CT law for possessing them.
Finally, Wagshol did admit to ordering a kit to build an AR. A lot of preppers and gun enthusiasts have done the exact same thing. That’s more than understandable with the government chomping at the bit to enact more gun control. Wagshol will likely be in legal trouble in CT for that too.
Be Careful What You Post on Social Media
This is where a “concerned citizen” stepped in. Wagshol shared a meme on Facebook that someone found scary.
According to News12 Connecticut:
FBI investigators say the Norwalk Police Department received a tip about Wagshol’s activity from a concerned citizen. The joint investigation began after the FBI received a tip that Wagshol was trying to buy high capacity magazines from out of state.
Police say all the weapons recovered from the home are legally owned and registered to Wagshol’s father, but that the 22-year-old had access to them. Investigators also recovered body armor with a titanium plate, camouflage shirt, pant and belt, ballistic helmet, tactical gloves, camouflage bag and computers. (source)
That’s right. The confiscated guns belong to his father. The son “had access” to them by living in the same house, but they are his father’s property. His father didn’t do anything wrong, but his property has been seized nonetheless.
This might be a good time to remind your own kids, both young and adult, to watch what they say on social media because it has real-world implications.
Let’s take a look at those other confiscated items, shall we? Camouflage clothing, body armor, gloves, bags, and computers are all legal to own. Listing it all, however, sure makes it sound super-scary. But, seriously, how much danger were people facing from that camouflage bag?
What kind of firearms were confiscated?
I bet you’re expecting to read a long list of firearms. The media spin has been predictable. CNN said “numerous” firearms were confiscated. The Washington Post described the weapons confiscated as a “cache” However, according to the Hartford Courrant:
Inside the condominium, authorities reported seizing a .40-caliber handgun, a .22-caliber rifle, a rifle scope with laser, firearm optics and flashlights, along with hundreds of rounds of ammunition. They also found body armor with a titanium plate, and tactical attire, police said.
So, two firearms. That’s what we’re talking about. And, the rifle takes the smallest rounds possible. It’s the kind of round you use plinking or to shoot squirrels or small pests. Who doesn’t have this stuff kicking around?
What Kind of Post Gets Your Guns Seized?
Even though Wagshol has denied having any intent to commit a mass shooting, several news outlets have reported that Wagshol made a Facebook post about wanting to commit a mass shooting, including CNNand The Washington Post.
So, what was this scary Facebook post that led to Wagshol’s arrest?
Good question. There doesn’t seem to be one.
The “concerned citizen” reported a Facebook post regarding buying 30-round magazines. However, no post has surfaced stating Wagshol wanted them for a mass shooting.
The police claim, however, that Wagshol was indeed planning a mass murder. From the Hartford Courrant: