The governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands signed an order Monday instructing law enforcement personnel to confiscate firearms and ammunition from residents before the arrival of Hurricane Irma, a Category 5 tempest.
Under the order, Gov. Kenneth Mapp activated the National Guard and gave authorities the green light to “restore public order, and to guarantee the safety of life and property.”
That also includes the seizure of “arms ammunition, explosives, incendiary material, and any other property that may be required by the military forces for the performance of this emergency mission,” as approved by the territory’s Department of Justice, The Hill Reports.
Confiscation by the state during a time of crisis should sound familiar. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin issued a similar decree calling on police to round up guns from law-abiding folk.
However, this extra-constitutional abuse of power by the government did not go unchecked. The National Rifle Association stepped in, filed a lawsuit, and won. The immediate result of this effort was a cessation of confiscation in The Big Easy, and down the road it led to a federal bill, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2006, prohibiting the seizure of firearms during states of emergency.
SEE ALSO: KORWIN: The Police-Would-Never-Confiscate-Guns Myth
To that end, the NRA promised Tuesday to fight Gov. Mapp on this front just as it did Gov. Nagin during Katrina.
“People need the ability to protect themselves during times of natural disaster,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA-ILA, in a press release. “This dangerous order violates the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and puts their lives at risk.”
“When 911 is non-existent and law enforcement personnel are overwhelmed with search-and-rescue missions and other emergency duties, law-abiding American citizens must be able to protect their families and loved ones. The NRA is prepared to pursue legal action to halt Gov. Mapp’s dangerous and unconstitutional order,” continued Cox.
The number one reason people own firearms is for self-defense. Stripping that right away from citizens when they are the most vulnerable is not only unconstitutional, it’s downright diabolical.
Sept. 8, 2017. Edit to add: The video below sheds some more light on the order and the seizure of firearms from citizens. Apparently, by “seize” firearms, ammo, etc. the good governor did not mean confiscate, rather he meant authorities can purchase whatever munitions they need from retail outlets. Hmmm. Interesting choice of words. Looking at the definitions of the word “seize,” I didn’t see the governor’s interpretation listed:
“Seize” via Dictionary.com
verb (used with object), seized, seizing.
1. to take hold of suddenly or forcibly; grasp:
to seize a weapon.
2. to grasp mentally; understand clearly and completely:
to seize an idea.
3. to take possession of by force or at will:
to seize enemy ships.
4. to take possession or control of as if by suddenly laying hold:
Panic seized the crowd.
5. to take possession of by legal authority; confiscate:
to seize smuggled goods.
6. Also, seise. Law. to put (someone) in seizin or legal possession of property (usually used in passive constructions):
She was seized of vast estates.
7. to capture; take into custody.