A California man who reportedly heads something called the Bowl Patrol and espouses hate for various minority groups has had his guns confiscated by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office via the state’s “red flag” law. In effect, he lost his guns because he’s a racist.

Given the fluid, ever-changing standards (or lack thereof) for being labeled a racist in 2020, this is a particularly dangerous and disturbing precedent.

[N]othing in the quoted statements from Sheriff’s Office officials suggests that the “gun violence restraining order” and gun seizure stemmed from any crime he had committed (including conspiracy or solicitation); it sounds like the basis for the “gun violence restraining order” is his political rhetoric. I found online what is claimed to be an excerpt from the application for the order, though I can’t vouch for its authenticity (I’m trying to get the court file myself)….

And while it does lay out a specific theory as to why he is likely to commit violence, I don’t think this can be enough. A person’s hateful and pro-violence rhetoric—whether it’s hatred for blacks and Jews, as Casarez seems to espouse, or for police officers or capitalists or government officials—is by itself the exercise of First Amendment rights, and the government can’t retaliate against such speech by using it as a basis to deny Second Amendment rights. While the government can use speech as evidence of what one has done or why one has done it (a common use in criminal procedures), I don’t think it can use it as evidence of future dangerousness sufficient to deny someone a constitutional right.

– Eugene Volokh in California Man’s Gun Seized, Apparently Because He Was a Racist Group Leader

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