Judge rules man arrested with 200 guns can be released

AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File

Imagine you were arrested for whatever reason. You’re sitting in jail waiting to be released, only prosecutors argue that the simple fact you owned guns made you a risk to be released.

Sounds kind of awful, right?

For one Rhode Island man, that’s not a hypothetical, either. That’s his reality.

Luckily, the judge has decided not to buy what the prosecution is selling.

A Rhode Island man arrested after investigators found more than 200 guns strewn around his home can safely be released on bond under certain conditions, a federal judge said in a ruling released Monday.

The exact conditions will be determined Tuesday when Ronald Andruchuk, 37, of Burrillville, faces a detention hearing in federal court in Providence.

Andruchuk was arrested at his home Feb. 24 by police investigating reports of gunfire. Police found the guns all around the home where his wife and three children also live, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and a flamethrower, investigators said.

He faces several charges including possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, because of his alleged drug use.

Now, this case is interesting in a lot of ways. Andruchuk was reportedly found with drugs as well as the extensive collection of guns, which is part of the case against him.

However, that’s not what bothers me about this.

No, what’s troubling is how the prosecution is trying to make the case that because he had guns, he’s too dangerous to release. This at a time when actual violent criminals are being turned back out onto the streets in many of our major cities.

See, Andruchuk doesn’t seem to be accused of possessing stolen guns or firearms obtained through any illegal means, even. His attorney argues he’s simply a collector.

For that fact alone, he’s considered a particular danger.

Some people seem to think I’m paranoid when I describe gun owners as a persecuted group. To be fair, we’re not as targeted as some other segments of society, not historically at least. However, we are being targeted and treated as if we’re criminals simply because we exercise our right to keep and bear arms.

This is a prime example.

The prosecutor doesn’t really have any proof that Andruchuk is a particular danger, especially if his collection is in law enforcement’s hands. The claim is that he’ll know how to get more guns, which is likely more true for your average violent criminal than a guy who bought his guns through lawful means.

Unless, of course, the prosecutor has evidence Andruchuk bought them on the black market, which doesn’t seem to be the case.

Look, I don’t know if Andruchuk did what he’s accused of. The whole case is bizarre.

What matters to me is that people get arrested all the time for crimes they didn’t commit, and the idea of keeping someone locked up simply because they had guns means that many of us could find ourselves in a similar boat to Andruchuk.

The mere possession of firearms isn’t grounds to deny bail. That’s especially true if your case for the person in question being prohibited is based on accusations, not firm reality. In other words, you’re alleging drug use, not basing it on their status as a felon.

The judge made the right call, but we should all be concerned that it was even necessary.