By Sean Walton
Local residents of a Martha’s Vineyard town in Massachusetts are up in arms after a revered school crossing guard has had his legally owned guns and carry license confiscated by police.
Stephen Nichols is an 84-year-old Korean War veteran who served as a police officer of Tisbury, Massachusetts for six decades. He’s been employed as a school crossing guard of the Tisbury School, until recent termination as a result of the same unclear incident that’s resulted in the red flag gun seizure executed against him.
Local reports indicate that Nichols had criticized a local school resource officer in a manner that was interpreted as a threat by the officer and local law enforcement. Nichols was evidently unhappy that the resource officer was taking coffee breaks when children were arriving at school in the morning.
Nichols invoked his Korean War service as his rationale for his displeasure with the unnamed school resource officer when speaking with the Martha’s Vineyard Times, stating his belief that such integral personnel should remain ‘on-post’ at all times in order to ensure the safety of Tisbury School students.
Nichols expressed his concern that someone could “shoot up” the school while the resource officer was off-post in a conversation with a friend at a local restaurant a few weeks ago. The conversation was apparently heard by a waitress, who made a police report. Shortly after, Nichols was fired as a crossing guard while on the job, after which police drove him to his house to collect his legally owned firearms. He claims to have held a Massachusetts concealed carry permit for more than fifty years that was promptly taken by police. Nichols states that no paperwork or documentation was provided to him after the red flag gun seizure.
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The owner of the Linda Jeans’ restaurant in which Nichols was speaking over his concerns in regards to school security has called the police treatment of the 84-year old “outrageous.” He believes one of his employees overreacted by making a police report.
Tisbury police have steadfastly refused to discuss any details of the case when approached on the matter by local Massachusetts media.
Nichols has 11 grandchildren, and told the Martha’s Vineyard Times that he “would never, ever, ever, harm a child.”
What happened to Nichols is exactly the type of scenario that critics of ‘red flag’ laws have repeatedly warned about. An apparently innocent man, most likely on a fixed income, is now going to have to come up with the money to pay for an attorney. There was no due process, and it would appear from all accounts that there wasn’t even a half-hearted investigation prior to confiscating his guns and further the police allegedly did not even provide documentation for the firearms that were confiscated.
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