Thursday, August 24, 2023

SAF Initiates Legal Action to Challenge Maryland's 'Red Flag' Legislation


The Second Amendment Foundation, along with member Donald S. Willey, a 64-year-old veteran of the Marine Corps, have initiated a legal battle against Maryland's five-year-old "red flag" law. The suit was submitted to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland's Northern Division. Maryland Attorney General Anthony G. Brown, Dorchester County, its Planning and Zoning Director Susan E. Webb, and Sheriff James W. Phillips are the defendants. All are named in their official roles, while Webb is also individually targeted.

Legal representation for SAF and Willey comes from Edward Andrew Paltzik and Serge Krimnus, attorneys with the New York-based Bochner PLLC law firm.

The federal lawsuit claims that local authorities in Dorchester County have been incessantly targeting Willey for minor nuisances and zoning issues for nearly 20 years. Susan Webb allegedly escalated matters over two years ago by accusing Willey of various infractions including running an unauthorized business from his property and violations concerning his yard and a tidewater buffer. These charges were later retracted, leading to a settlement concerning Willey's yard upkeep.


However, Webb allegedly overstepped her bounds by entering Willey’s property without prior notice for an inspection, later imposing new mandates for improvements. Webb is also accused of damaging Willey's boat cover when she "aggressively" posted Notices of Violation on it. She further initiated an Extreme Risk Protective Order to seize Willey’s firearms and ammo, claiming threats which Willey categorically denies. The lawsuit contends that this led to Willey facing a demeaning mental health evaluation and his constitutional rights being infringed upon for almost two weeks until his firearms were eventually returned.

Alan M. Gottlieb, the founder and Executive Vice President of SAF, stated, “This incident exemplifies the potential abuse inherent in 'red flag laws,' where citizens can be unfairly targeted.”

In agreement, SAF Executive Director Adam Kraut added, “The notion behind red flag laws is fundamentally flawed, allowing for actions against individuals based on an uncommitted, speculative crime. It’s a concept that might fit in a dystopian film but has no place in reality.”

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