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Police raid Virginia home of gun activist

A 31-year-old gun activist faces multiple drug and weapons charges following a police raid at his Virginia home during the evening of July 9. The man was previously the subject of a video where he was shown illegally loading a shotgun on July 4 in downtown Washington, DC. A gun violation in the nation's capitol can result in serious penalties. He had previously described his behavior in the video as an act of civil disobedience.

The former Marine refused to leave an adult detention center to attend his arraignment on Monday, July 15. A second arraignment was scheduled for the following Thursday. He has a history of high-profile protests. Following the raid on his home, he announced the police action on his website.

According to a statement by a roommate, the search had been expected. The roommate also stated that he believed that officers were searching for the shotgun used in the video and for other materials related to the making of the video. According to a news source, the search of the home lasted 5 hours. The police found and removed the shotgun and other materials.

Describing the subsequent raid in which the activist was taken into custody, the activist's website claims that police failed to announce they had a warrant, used a battering ram to knock down his door, employed a flash-bang hand grenade in the foyer of his home, kicked the man, forced him to sit on the floor while handcuffed, and did not allow a reasonable request to use the restroom. Court documents indicate that the man is facing multiple charges including the alleged possession of hallucinogenic mushrooms while possessing a firearm.

Weapons charges carry serious penalties that may follow someone throughout their lifetime. These include fines, imprisonment and loss of employment. Using this case as a possible example, if a search is found to be unreasonable or correct procedure not followed, an attorney may be able to have any such evidence excluded from further proceedings.

Source: USA Today, "Gun activist arrested on drug, weapons charges", Doug Stanglin, July 10, 2013

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