Charlottesville, VA — One Virginia gun owner has had enough of his state’s new gun control laws.
Joseph Draego of Albemarle County is suing the Charlottesville’s commonwealth’s attorney and the city police chief, claiming that their adopting Virginia’s new “red flag” law is a violation of his rights.
Draego filed the suit that takes aim at Red Flag gun confiscation earlier this month. He claims that the new “Red Flag” gun confiscation law — which allows authorities to obtain an emergency substantial risk order (ESRO) that immediately suspends a citizen’s gun rights for up to two weeks — violates his rights.
Draego named Joe Platania, commonwealth’s attorney, and RaShall Brackney, Charlottesville Chief of Police as defendants in his suit. His point was that any commonwealth attorney or police officer has authority to file an ESRO or Red Flag order. As the top of the chain of command in Charlottesville, Draego named the two men.
If the anti-gun Democrats who passed Red Flags in Virginia were hoping that Draego would try bringing a small suit — or maybe suing on a technicality — they’ve got the wrong guy.
Draego argued in his suit that not only do Red Flags violate his Second Amendment rights, but also his First, Sixth, Seventh and Fourteenth Amendment rights!
Specifically, Draego pointed out that the new red flag law allows for “any relevant evidence” to be considered, including “a person’s speech or expressive activity.”
“Mr. Draego plans to refrain from engaging in lawful expressive activity to a void losing his ability to possess firearms, a right which is especially important to him,” the complaint reads.
The thing is, Draego hasn’t even been subjected to a Red Flag order. This might make it harder for his case to be heard, but his point stands: Red Flag laws effectively silence many citizens who won’t speak out against their tyrant governor or his minions for fear of losing their gun rights.
A Man For The Times
Draego has previously brought another lawsuit against the city but that one ended in Draego’s favor with a settlement out of court.
In 2016, Draego was speaking before the city council in objection to a wave of Muslim immigration that was changing his town. During that speech, he objected to the “allegedly unfettered Muslim immigration into his hometown.”
Draego was cut short by the mayor when he referred to Muslims as “monstrous maniacs” who perpetrate “horrible crimes.” The mayor cited the council’s rule forbidding speech that disparages an entire group or race.
Draego was eventually vindicated and a judge issued an injunction to the city to stop them implementing rules about “group defamation.”
As a result of that instance, Draego’s face was put on fliers around town calling him a racist. According to the complaint, the flyers around the city called Mr. Draego a ‘local Nazi’ and falsely claiming he is known for ‘… spewing anti-Muslim hate speech, is a close associate of Jason Kessler (the controversial organizer of the Charlottesville protests), is a known open and concealed firearm carrier …,’” the complaint read. “Activists have made connections between Mr. Draego’s views and his gun ownership.”
Draego’s fear seems to be that he needs his guns in order to protect himself from leftist activists who have painted him as a dangerous man for saying things — that is, for using words, not for taking actions– that they don’t like.
But now that Red Flags have passed and went into effect on July 1st, Draego realizes that if he says anything in the future that irritates the leftist mob, he could have his guns taken away.
For Draego, this case is cut and dried: the Red Flag laws both hamper his ability to speak freely AND potentially give leftist activists the ability to see him disarmed and helpless.
No Red Flags Yet
Draego’s case will likely be an uphill battle since Charlottesville hasn’t Red Flagged him. In fact, they haven’t enacted the new law on anybody as of this writing. As such, it’s harder to prove damages or that your rights have been violated when the law hasn’t even been brought to bear on him.
But kudos to Mr. Draego for challenging tyrant Governor Ralph Northam. Virginia’s gun owners — like Draego — are in an uphill struggle. Best of luck to them all.
Meanwhile, this is why gun owners who live in states that have not enacted Red Flag laws need to be working overtime to make sure their legislators don’t sell them out! These red flag laws are tyrannical!