Op-ed Pieces

Connecticut versus Walter Reddy and the Second Amendment

Walter Reddy, ambushed at home and in court by the State of Connecticut, needs your help to defend our Second Amendment rights.

In this day and age, it seems that just believing in the Constitution can make you an enemy of the state and a target of the government. A friend of the Second Amendment, and Founder of Committees of Safety in Connecticut, Walter Reddy, just learned this truth the hard way.

In late January, 2011, Walter had a conversation with a man he believed to be his friend. A few days later, this man reported to the local police a list of inflammatory statements Walter had supposedly had made to him, but his friend refused to sign a statement for the police verifying he heard these statements. Walter's home was raided by a swat team on Valentine's Day, and his tiny collection of firearms seized. ‏ ‏

What horrific thing is Walter to have said? Allegedly, he said intemperate things about a bank claiming to hold his mortgage and the police. Even if true, these days who among us hasn't said derogatory, even intemperate things - particularly about banks? But the police report doesn't stop there. It next claims that Walter "might do something violent," does not believe in federal taxation, and the FBI stated he was a "person of interest" regarding domestic terrorism.

The report even alleges that Walter believes he is a "sovereign citizen" and may have had "militia training" - which probably means he has read the Constitution and has taken a concealed carry class. ‏ ‏

This is a tactic employed often by law enforcement. They list innocuous characteristics, and then tack a completely baseless slander on the end. For example: "X grows his own food, wants to live off the grid, and plans to blow up preschools."

Finally, the report claims that Walter "brandished" a shotgun. Yet since there was no description of how he brandished it, or at whom, he was never charged with "brandishing" since Walter was inside his own home at the time, it would seem that Walter simply showed the gun to his friend.

The so-called friend even refused to sign a sworn written statement against Walter, but nevertheless without cause, the police used these statements to obtain a search warrant to raid Walter's home on February 14, with a swat team.

In addition to taking Walter's Mosberg Model 88 pump-action shotgun, a revolver, and some ammo, they also seized "red wire" and two dummy novelty "grenades" of the sort widely sold. The warrant itself lists the grenades as "inert" (meaning not grenades), and clearly red wire no more a weapon than blue wire, but the police seized these items anyway - apparently trying to paint Walter as some sort of terrorist, caught in the act of bomb-making.

Knowing that they could never hope to convict Walter of any crime, the county prosecutor instead chose instead to initiate forfeiture proceedings against Walter's firearms, based on the claim that Walter had made "threats ... towards ... others." Walter was told that the hearing was informal, but when he appeared in court he was subjected to an adversarial hearing. When he asked for a continuance to hire a lawyer, the judge's response was essentially "tough luck." Walter was forced to wing it and defend himself.

As if adding insult to injury, the state then put a police officer on the stand who claimed he had confiscated a "StreetSweeper" shotgun from Walter. A Streetsweeper has a spring-tensioned drum magazine and a top folding stock - and is a federally-regulated "destructive device." Walter's shotgun had none of these features - a three year old could tell the difference. (Of course, nobody bothered to bring the shotgun, or even a picture of it, to court.)

If the officer was right and Walter had committed a federal felony by owning a Streetsweeper, don't you think the officer might have called the ATF? The Connecticut police already called the FBI's terrorism task force on a whim, so why not add another agency to the alphabet soup? ‏

After Walter's ambush "hearing" GOF was asked to help and stepped in. GOF helped Walter obtain a lawyer who immediately filed a motion for a rehearing and, now, an appeal. The case continues.

If this can happen to Walter, it can happen to you. This is the kind of case that you help when you send a donation to Gun Owners Foundation. Remember, the next swat raid could be at your house. Let's not let them pull this crapola on one of our own.

Thank you!


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