Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp issued a tyrannical order giving his territory’s National Guard broad authority to seize guns and ammunition in anticipation of the arrival of Category 5 Hurricane Irma.
The National Rifle Association is quite properly threatening a lawsuit to restore the civil rights of the people of the Virgin Islands. “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.”
“When 911 is nonexistent 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,” Cox said. “The NRA is prepared to pursue legal action to halt Gov. Mapp’s dangerous and unconstitutional order.”
Mapp, an Independent who used to be a Republican, told Tucker Carlson on Fox News Channel a few minutes ago that he did not order the seizure of privately-owned firearms and that the Virgin Islands’ armory is already well-stocked.
A standing order gives the Adjutant General of the National Guard power to seize firearms and ammunition in specific situations, Mapp said, arguing he had done nothing wrong. “We don’t seize property without due compensation to the property owner,” he said.
That is not what his gubernatorial mini-martial-law order actually says. (Read the order here.)
The order states, in relevant part:
The Adjutant General is directed pursuant to Title 23, Sections 1521 and 1552, Virgin Islands Code to take whatever actions she considers necessary to carry out the assigned mission. In accordance with Title 23 Section 1522, Virgin Islands Code, 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.
The order says “arms” and “ammunition” and is not limited. This means that if the Adjutant General, Brigadier General Deborah Y. Howell, decides in her wisdom that privately-owned guns need to be seized, those seizures can happen. General Howell could be a wonderful person and an excellent military commander, but she shouldn’t get to decide when and where the Bill of Rights applies.
Second Amendment rights are the essence of America itself. They don’t evaporate in stormy weather or at the say-so of politicians. That is when these God-given constitutional rights are most important.
Anyone enforcing this unconscionable gun-grabbing order against law-abiding private gun owners should — at a minimum — be sued for civil rights violations. That’s the only way to make these politicians accountable (along with voting them out of office).
When Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana, then-New Orleans Mayor Roy Nagin (D) ordered police to go door-to-door confiscating weapons from residents who owned guns. The result? Widespread chaos ensued as criminals ran wild in the aftermath of the hurricane. Obviously, criminals weren’t afraid of disarmed people.
Sadly, many politicians never learn.