Concealed Carry & Home Defense

CCW Weekend: David Letterman And Red Flag Laws


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By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

It would seem like those two things have nothing to do with each other, but you’d be surprised at what the one has to do with the other. How so?

Florida’s “red flag law” as well as similar statutes in a few other states give those states the ability to seize the firearms of certain persons that are deemed a risk to themselves or others. Conditions must be met, of course; the person has to have a history of mental illness, pose a suicide risk, be subject to a domestic violence restraining order or – depending on the individual law in question – something to that effect.

Additionally, due process must also be observed. The request for the order (often called an Extreme Risk Protection Order or something like that) has to go before a judge. A hearing does have to be conducted, which may require (or may not, again depending) the presence of the person who may be affected by it.

Now, what does David Letterman have to do with any of this? The former “Late Night” host retired years ago and has largely been out of the public eye, except for his new interview show – “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction” – on Netflix, which is only a few episodes.

It has to do with the nature of restraining orders.

In Dec. 2005, one Colleen Nestler of Santa Fe, NM, sought a restraining order against David Letterman. She contended that since 1994, Letterman had been sending her coded messages. According to CBS, an example of the code was that when he said “marry me, Oprah” in a promo for his late night show, he actually meant Nestler.

The letter “O,” according to Nestler, meant her in the code. The code changed over time, of course.

Over the next ten years, she alleged, Letterman subjected her to mental cruelty with his thoughts, as he was trying to lure her to New York to get her to marry him, but then coldly rejected her when she didn’t. It caused her to declare bankruptcy, apparently. Nestler also, according to AOL (it’s still a thing?) received similar coded messages from Kelsey Grammer, Regis Philbin and Kathie Lee Gifford.

The plot, as it tends to, thickened.

Since a temporary restraining order requires a hearing, she got in front of a judge. Despite Nestler offering no evidence and admitting she had none, the judge granted the motion.

The paperwork eventually reached Letterman, who obtained local counsel and got the TRO crushed in a matter of moments and by the same judge, no less.

Granted, there are intricacies to the legal system which exist for good reason. However, the point here is that while red flag laws have some good intentions – getting guns out of the hands of people that are at a high ostensible risk of hurting themselves or others – and may even involve due process, the legal system is a very, very long way from perfect.

If a person can get a restraining order for reasons that are obviously frivolous, bizarre even, what would it take to get a risk protection order granted?

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit