Authorities seize weapons from alleged neo-Nazi leader under 'red flag' law

Authorities in Washington state have reportedly seized a range of weapons from the alleged leader of a neo-Nazi group after concluding that the individual posed a threat to others.

Seattle police conducted the seizure in late September after prosecutors filed a petition citing the state's "red flag" law and seeking an extreme risk protection order, according to reports. An order filed on Oct. 8 found that Kaleb James Cole, 24, posed a threat to others. 

Washington's "red flag" law allows authorities to confiscate weapons from individuals deemed to be a risk to themselves or others for up to one year. 

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Police seized five rifles, three pistols and other gun components from Cole, according to court documents obtained by NBC News. CNN noted that police confiscated an AK-47 and a concealed-carry firearm permit from Whatcom County. Cole has not been charged with a crime. 

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes told NBC News that the seizure may have stopped a tragedy from taking place. 

"This is a hate-filled human being, but unfortunately one who possesses really alarming numbers of weapons," Holmes said.

Seattle police reportedly described Cole as "a self-admitted member of the Atomwaffen Division" in its petition for the Extreme Risk Protection Order. The Southern Poverty Law Center has classified the group as a "terroristic national socialist organization." Police said they believed the organization to be a neo-Nazi group and alleged that Cole had taken part in "training and recruitment efforts at organized hate camps'" in the state, CNN noted. 

"It appears that he has gone from espousing hate to now taking active steps or preparation for an impending 'race war,'" Seattle police said in the petition.

The petition noted that Cole had received a lifetime ban from Canada because he was part of "an organization that may engage in terrorism." It also indicated that Customs and Border Protection officials discovered an Atomwaffen Division flag after detaining him following the 24-year-old's trip through Eastern Europe. 

Washington is one of 17 U.S. states with "red flag" laws that allow officials to seize weapons from individuals deemed to be threats. Former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeO'Rourke says he 'absolutely' plans to stay in politics Krystal Ball: Buttigieg is 'the boomer candidate' Language is a weapon in political warfare — if the media play along MORE (D-Texas), who has become one of the most outspoken advocates for gun reform in recent months, praised the state's legislation Friday, saying on Facebook that "red flag laws save lives."

"Congress needs to act," the 2020 presidential candidate added.