January 6th, 2021 wasn’t exactly a great day. Regardless of how you feel about what happened, it was still an unpleasant situation that, frankly, I wish had never happened. At the time, I feared it was the harbinger of something even worse, which hasn’t turned out to be the case, thankfully, but it wasn’t great.
For those who took part in those events, it hasn’t been a very good time since then. Many of them face prosecution for their actions that day and are waiting for their day in court.
One such individual currently facing charges, however, has initiated another legal matter. He wants his guns back.
The Americus lawyer accused of taking part in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot wants his guns back — and his Trump hat.
Lawyers for William McCall Calhoun filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Washington asking a judge to return items seized when he was arrested at his sister’s house in Macon in January 2021.
According to a document filed with the court, they include four AR-15 rifles, four shotguns and a Glock handgun.
FBI agents also took Calhoun’s “camo in color” Trump hat and a scarf. The documents don’t say why.
Now, should he get them back?
Well, yeah, and for a number of reasons. First and foremost is that he only stands accused of a crime. He hasn’t been convicted of anything. In a legal system premised on “innocent until proven guilty” you don’t strip people of their rights simply because you think they did something.
If you could, then all it would take to disarm ideological opponents is an indictment by a grand jury. Since a competent prosecutor can get a ham sandwich indicted, we can see why that’s a problem.
However, Calhoun has another reason he thinks he should get his guns back.
Calhoun’s lawyers argue that the FBI had an arrest warrant, but not a search warrant, when they arrested him nine days after the riot.
They argue that taking his guns and property violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
Now, Calhoun apparently said a lot of stupid stuff on social media leading up to January 6th, but that doesn’t matter. If the FBI only had an arrest warrant, then all they were really authorized to do was arrest him. They certainly had no cause to search the home and confiscate lawfully owned items.
Even if they were in plain view of the arresting agents, unless there’s some evidence suggesting Calhoun had them on his person that day or used them in some regard, why would you seize them without the proper warrant?
The truth is that while I’m not a fan of what happened on January 6th, I’m even less of a fan of the government’s response to it.
Calhoun should most definitely get his guns back. If he’s convicted of a felony, he won’t be able to have them, but until then, he still retains all of his rights. That includes his right to keep and bear arms, especially when it appears they were seized unlawfully.
And let’s be clear, even if I were previously inclined to give the FBI the benefit of the doubt, they’ve well and truly screwed up any opportunity for that with their previous shenanigans.
In other words, I believe Calhoun and his attorneys. The FBI probably did take his property without the proper warrants, all because they’re the FBI and figure they can get away with whatever they want.
The truth of the matter is that such an attitude is troubling in a nation that considers itself a nation of laws, not of men.
Then again, that’s been fiction for a good long while.