Beginning on October 1st, Maryland enacted a new red flag law. The law allows concerned citizens to report suspicious behavior by gun owners. A District Court judge evaluates the situation and can order a temporary gun prohibition when there is evidence that the person poses a danger with their weapon. The red flag law forces the person being served to give up their guns to police officers.
Police in Maryland have already begun receiving red flag alerts throughout the state. Officers in Anne Arundel County were executing one of these protective orders early on the morning of November 5th when a struggle ensued. Gary J. Willis, a 61-year-old, answered his door with one of his firearms in his hands. Officers were initially able to convince the suspect to put down his weapon, but Willis became “irate” when police began to explain the order to take all of his guns.
Suddenly, Willis again reached for his firearm. Another officer reached for the weapon and a physical struggle ensued. The weapon discharged during the scuffle, but the bullet luckily did not strike anyone. In order to take control of the situation, one of the officers shot Willis. The gun shot wound was fatal for the suspect.
It remains unclear who initially sought out the protective order against the suspect or why because the information is currently considered confidential under Maryland’s red flag laws. There are currently 114 petitions overall in the state of Maryland. Michele Willis, the suspect’s niece, told news media outlets that her uncle “wouldn’t hurt anybody,” and she is currently “dumbfounded” over the situation.