Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp has already called up the National Guard ahead of Hurricane Irma, who appears to be an even nastier customer than Hurricane Harvey that has left so much devastation in its wake. Calling up the Guard is a good idea, something that is definitely prudent when you know you have a powerful storm heading your way.
What wasn’t prudent, however, was Gov. Mapp ordering the confiscation of private citizens’ guns.
The NRA has already voiced its opposition to the plan and is threatening legal action.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) is threatening legal action to stop a seizure of guns and ammunition by U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp (I) ahead of Hurricane Irma, the group said Tuesday.
“People need the ability to protect themselves during times of natural disaster,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’S Institute for Legislative Action. “This dangerous order violates the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and puts their lives at risk.”
The order authorizes and instructs the islands’ adjutant general to seize “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.
No, Mapp isn’t the first official to try this. Most famously was Mayor Ray Nagin in New Orleans who ordered police to take guns owned by law abiding citizens following Hurricane Katrina. This was especially troublesome because of reports of violence throughout the devastated area.
The truth is, following a storm is when people are most likely to need their weapons. People who are looking for necessities may decide those who have them should be forced to hand them over. A firearm can dissuade many people who might otherwise figure that might makes right.
Even if you ignore that, however, the plain text of the Second Amendment is clear. It explicitly states “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” I’m sorry, but a firearm confiscation is a big old case of infringement if ever there was one.
Gov. Mapp may think he’s doing some good by ordering the confiscation of firearms, but he’s not. As a former police officer, he should know just how important an armed individual can be, especially during times of disaster when emergency services are bogged down. Even in the best of times, when seconds count, the police are just minutes away, and Irma isn’t exactly the best of times.
It’s beyond time to look at guns and law abiding gun owners as some kind of Boogeyman that needs to be caged the moment something bad appears to be headed their way. After all, take a look at Texas. Want to bet how many of those people traveling in with their boat in tow just to help folks they’ve never met are also gun owners?
Here’s a tip: Put your money on it being a lot of them.
The reason for that is simple. Gun owners not only aren’t the problem politicians seem inclined to pretend we are, we tend to be community minded people who only want to help our fellow man. How many of us conceal carry when we’re by ourselves simply because we’re OK being shot ourselves, but don’t want our lack of preparedness to result in other people being hurt?
How many different ways do we need to explain we’re not the bad guys to politicians, anyway?