And now, Timothy Caruthers won’t be eligible to purchase or own a handgun for at least two years, San Diego County Superior Court Judge Richard Whitney ruled last week.
“The Court concludes the purchase of a semi-automatic handgun, combined with the evidence of very egregious racial threats, advocacy of violence towards minority groups, vulgar speech, speech that promotes killing other minority groups are not considered constitutionally protected speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” the court’s order read.
Under the social media handle the “Liberal Terminator,” Caruthers made threats against Black people, Latinos, Muslims, Jewish people, the LGBTQ community, and women, prosecutors said.
“Essentially, anyone who is non-white, except for liberals,” Deputy City Attorney Joshua Kay said, according to CBS8 San Diego.
Kay added that Caruthers expressed his desire to kill Black people and idolized white nationalist Dylann Roof—who murdered nine people in a 2015 Charleston church shooting.
In one post, Caruthers allegedly said, “All n—–s need to die. I don’t know how much longer I can contain my anger. I want a race war to start, so I can kill Black people. …I’m not even joking.”
According to court minutes, in another post, Caruthers wrote, “I want to kill anything n—–s. I want to torture them and beat them to death and watch them gurgle and spit on their own blood. …You gotta always keep your strap ready when in a 10 mile radius of a n—-r.”
In July 2021, police said they found an illegally concealed handgun and loaded magazine in Caruthers’ car. Because of his violent posts, San Diego police issued Caruthers a gun violence restraining order, according to CBS8.
“So, all of these threats made against Black people, Hispanics, Muslims, with a combination of purchasing this firearm and ammunition constitutes a recent threat to others,” Kay argued, according to court minutes.
“It’s not like anyone is trying to say you can’t say what you want, or you can’t do what you want. It’s saying if you’re going to say these things and carry a gun around in your car, that’s not the kind of person that should probably possess a gun,” Kay added.
Caruthers had filed a motion against the July 2021 order that barred him from owning a gun, claiming that his social media posts should have been protected by the First Amendment, CBS8 San Diego reported. Caruthers’ defense team argued “the internet is entitled to the highest level of First Amendment protection.”
“Akin to the print media, akin to online hate speech receives as much protection as hate speech pamphlets distributed by the Ku Klux Klan,” defense attorneys said. “If the Ku Klux Klan can go out and make statements, why are they not in this courtroom for a gun violence restraining order?”
Suzy Moore, Caruthers’ mother and one of his attorneys, said her son initially purchased his handgun after being harassed about a pro-Trump sticker on his car, CBS8 reported.
“It’s all protected—anything that you say on the Internet, as long as there’s not an identifiable victim and as long as it’s not an imminent threat,” Moore said during a civil court hearing earlier in March. “There was no imminent threat. There were no identifiable victims. That’s the standard that you have to meet in order to have a true threat so it takes it outside of the protections of the First Amendment.”
The gun violence restraining order will remain against Caruthers until July 2023—two years after the original filing date.
Caruthers’ legal team did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.
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