U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp signed an emergency order allowing the National Guard to seize private guns, ammunition, explosives, and property ahead of Hurricane Irma.
The order allows the Adjutant General of the Virgin Islands to “to take whatever actions she considers necessary to carry out the assigned mission” including seizing and private property they believe necessary to protect the islands.
“The Adjutant General is authorized and directed 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,” the governor said in the order.
Copy of Executive Order
The order went into effect Tuesday at 12:01 a.m.
Located about 40 miles east of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands consist mainly of St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas islands. The territory has a population of more than 100,000 residents.
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Hurricane Irma is currently a Category 5 storm with winds over 185 mph.
— ABC News (@ABC) September 5, 2017
The National Rifle Association on Tuesday announced its strong opposition to the order signed by U.S. Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp allowing the government to seize personal firearms and ammunition ahead of Hurricane Irma. The NRA is prepared to engage the legal system to halt the unconstitutional order.
“People need the ability to protect themselves during times of natural disaster,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. “This dangerous order violates the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and puts their lives at risk.”
After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin instituted a similar order and began confiscating legally owned and possessed firearms. The NRA intervened in federal court and was able to halt the confiscations and obtain an order requiring the return of the seized firearms. The organization then backed federal legislation to prohibit the confiscation of legal firearms from law-abiding citizens during states of emergency. In 2006, President George W. Bush signed this legislation into law.
“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,” concluded Cox.