Words matter. In fact, they matter so much that if you say the wrong ones, you can have your property confiscated before being sent to a mental hospital for three weeks. Oregon’s red flag gun laws empowered all of this. That’s the lesson learned by former Marine Shane Kohfield who addressed a right-wing crowd with a warning to Antifa should they turn even more violent than they already have.
“If Antifa gets to the point where they start killing us, I’m going to kill them next,” Kohfield told a crowd, according to the Oregonian. “I’d slaughter them, and I have a detailed plan on how I would wipe out Antifa.”
His words were harsh. They were intimidating. Threatening to have a “detailed plan” makes them downright scary. But they were words that were preceded by a very important caveat, “If Antifa gets to the point where they start killing us…”
This criteria for Kohfield to turn violent is a feeling many Americans have but do not voice in public. It’s common to believe if those who hate us, whether politically, culturally, religiously, or for any other reason intend to do us harm, we have the right and responsibility to defend ourselves and our families. That’s part of being an American, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a violent group like Antifa or white supremacists or the government itself. Any actions taken against us require actions to be taken in response.
I’m not defending Kohfield’s words, per se. One does not need to be out there making threats even with the aforementioned caveat he stated in the beginning of his rant. But is it enough for the FBI to confiscate five of his firearms and compel him to receive a mental health evaluation?
FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task responded within days to seize all of Kohfield’s weapons. Agents cited the red flag law to temporarily confiscate the guns, though Kohfield had not committed a crime.
The law allows law enforcement and family members to ask a judge to issue an “extreme risk protection order” that prohibits certain individuals from owning weapons. The statute’s intent is to be proactive to inhibit violence before it can occur, and many states are enacting similar laws as a way to combat the increasing number of mass shootings in the U.S.
Phil Lemman, Oregon’s acting deputy state court administrator, said Kohfield gave up five guns, including an AR-15.
Kohfield was also admitted to a veterans hospital in Portland and spent 20 days there. Though he was not charged with a crime, he was barred from participating in the August protests organized by the far-right group Proud Boys in Portland that drew counterprotests from antifa.
There were laws on the books before Oregon adopted red flag gun laws the FBI or other law enforcement could have used to achieve the same basic results. But those laws would have allowed Kohfield to have due process in determining his condition and whether or not his 2nd Amendment rights needed to be revoked. Red flag laws bypass due process altogether.
Shane Kohfield’s public sentiment was irresponsible and spoken in the heat of the moment. But this isn’t a case of red flag gun laws protecting the public. They disarmed a law abiding former Marine who is as sick of Antifa as most patriots.
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