Update: Red-Flagged 84-Year-Old Vet Gets Job Back After Mass Outrage
An elderly veteran and school crossing guard expressed worry about the safety of children at Tisbury School in Tisbury, Massachusetts, after noticing the school resource officer would often leave the grounds to grab a coffee at a nearby store.
For his valid concern, the hero had guns at his home confiscated by police and was forced to surrender his firearm license. His crossing guard duties were even suspended.
Stephen Nichols, an 84-year-old Korean War veteran, was reinstated after his story went viral.
A petition on Change.org in support of Nichols quickly hit 2,000 signatures, a growing number that is already halfway to passing the total population of the small town of Tisbury. As of Tuesday morning, the petition is still gaining signatures.
The humiliating incident stemmed from a misheard conversation at a local diner, The Martha’s Vineyard Times reported.
While Nichols, a six-decade veteran of the Tisbury Police Department, was eating with a friend at Linda Jean’s restaurant in Oak Bluffs, he noted that the resource officer at the school where he worked would often make trips off-campus.
With virtually a lifetime in law enforcement, this didn’t sit right with Nichols.
The veteran mentioned that the officer’s absence would be a boon for anyone aiming to “shoot up the school.” According to Nichols, a waitress overhead a part of the conversation and complained to the police department.
Later, Nichols was confronted by Tisbury Police Chief Mark Saloio and another officer while in the middle of his crossing guard duties. The two drove the veteran to his own house before seizing his guns and his firearm license.
The fact that Nichols had his firearms license since 1958 didn’t matter; neither did the fact that a simple misheard conversation escalated to police intervention. Without even a receipt, Nichols lost every one of his guns.
Nichols said the firearms were eventually released to his son-in-law, and even though the veteran does want them back in his possession, it appears that isn’t a possibility.
“My grandson is manager of a gun shop in Worcester, Mass., and he’s going to be allowed to come down and take the weapons and sell them for me,” he said. It’s unclear why Nichols isn’t able to take his own guns back.
In another surprising twist, it was revealed that police never even charged Nichols with a crime.
Regardless, it seems Nichols will have to part with his firearms.
Under Massachusetts law, police and family members can petition courts to allow the confiscation of an individual’s firearms.
Although only certain people can request the order, Nichols’ case suggests that even a waitress overhearing a conversation can spark a full gun confiscation by going through the right channels.
Abuse of red flag laws has long been a worry of gun rights activists. But concerns that vindictive or simply uneducated people could strip a person’s constitutional rights to firearms have been waved away by many on the left.
Now we’re beginning to see the awful power of the red flag system, where even an 84-year-old veteran can be humiliated and disarmed for his concern for schoolchildren.
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