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Virgin Islands Governor Signs Order For Confiscation of Personal Firearms Ahead of Hurricane Irma

Seth Connell

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The Second Amendment provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, but the Virgin Islands Governor somehow sees a Hurricane exception to the Supreme Law of all U.S. land.

As the Caribbean and United States prepare for the incredibly powerful Hurricane Irma, people everywhere from the Gulf Coast to the Carolinas are getting ready for possible impact. That includes the U.S. Virgin Islands, a territory where the governor has signed an executive order authorizing the National Guard to seize privately owned firearms, ammunition, explosives, and property, The Daily Caller is reporting.

Governor Kenneth Mapp signed the order on Monday ahead of the Hurricane’s landfall. The order allows the Adjutant General of the Virgin Islands to take personal property that it believes is necessary to protect the islands. That apparently includes residents’ personal firearms and ammunition, along with whatever other property is deemed “necessary.”

What is this a third world country, where the State can declare that one’s rights are abrogated by a force of nature by executive fiat? The order itself reads like something from a Communist dictator rather than an American governing official.

“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, in accordance with the Rules of Force promulgated by the Virgin Islands National Guard and approved by the Virgin Islands Department of Justice.”

This order is simply authoritarian, there is no other way to describe it. There can be “rules” and “guidelines,” but at the end of the day the people’s rights and property are under blatant attack. By executive fiat, the Governor not only authorizes confiscation of firearms and ammunition, but also directs them to do it.

Is there no respect for people’s personal property, and right of self-defense during times of disaster? Or when a crisis emerges, do we abandon all foundations of free society and resort to the arbitrary forces used in the most cruel authoritarian regimes on the earth.

Is that we are all about? No, and this order must not go unanswered. It flies in the face of the letter and spirit of the law, that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, and that no property shall be taken without due process of law.

Remember that this is not the first time that firearms confiscation measures have been implemented in response to a storm. After Hurricane Katrina, police confiscated firearms from quite a few people in New Orleans without due process of law.

Despite their inability to cope with the resulting mayhem, several days after the storm passed New Orleans officials ordered the confiscation of lawfully-owned firearms from city residents. In a September 8, 2005 article, the New York Times described the scene, stating, “Local police officers began confiscating weapons from civilians in preparation for a forced evacuation of the last holdouts still living here… Police officers and federal law enforcement agents scoured the city carrying assault rifles seeking residents who have holed up to avoid forcible eviction.”

In the years that followed, New Orleans officials were unrepentant. In a 2006 interview with local radio station WWL, New Orleans Superintendent Warren Riley said, “During a circumstance like that, we cannot allow people to walk the street carrying guns…as law enforcement officers we will confiscate the weapon if a person is walking down the street and they may be arrested.”

It looks like the U.S. Virgin Islands will be repeating history, attacking one of the foundations of freedom upon which this country is built. Let us not leave this tyrannical order unopposed.