Legal Issues

Can The Government Confiscate My Firearms During a Disaster?

dozens of rifles in a pile

During the recent disaster wrought by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida, many readers have been wondering whether the government can confiscate their firearms if the Governor or Federal Government declare a state of emergency. The Shooter’s Log reached out to U.S. Law Shield for the answer.

Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the New Orleans police went door to door seeking people who rode out the storm in their homes to force them to comply with the forced evacuation ordered by the government. As part of the effort, the officers were also confiscating firearms. This created outrage among the law-abiding gun owners of the country and resulted in the passage of state and federal laws to prevent such confiscations from occurring in the future.

In 2006, Congress passed the DISASTER RECOVERY PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT of 2006. The law was intended to prevent the government from seizing legally-owned firearms during the time of a disaster. It was incorporated as an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007, and signed into law on October 4, 2006.

Can the Federal Government confiscate your firearms?

This law amended 42 U.S.C 5201 Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to add the following provision:


(a) PROHIBITION ON CONFISCATION OF FIREARMS – No officer or employee of the United States (including any member of the uniformed services), or person operating pursuant to or under color of Federal law, or receiving Federal funds, or under control of any Federal official, or providing services to such an officer, employee, or other person, while acting in support of relief from a major disaster or emergency, may:

  1. Temporarily or permanently seize, or authorize seizure of, any firearm the possession of which is not prohibited under Federal, State, or local law, other than for forfeiture in compliance with Federal law or as evidence in a criminal investigation;
  2. Require registration of any firearm for which registration is not required by Federal, State, or local law;
  3. Prohibit possession of any firearm, or promulgate any rule, regulation, or order prohibiting possession of any firearm, in any place or by any person where such possession is not otherwise prohibited by Federal, State, or local law; or
  4. Prohibit the carrying of firearms by any person otherwise authorized to carry firearms under Federal, State, or local law, solely because such person is operating under the direction, control, or supervision of a Federal agency in support of relief from the major disaster or emergency.
    1.  LIMITATION – Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any person in subsection (a) from requiring the temporary surrender of a firearm as a condition for entry into any mode of transportation used for rescue or evacuation during a major disaster or emergency, provided that such temporarily surrendered firearm is returned at the completion of such rescue or evacuation.

Following the lead of the federal government, most state legislatures adopted their own version of this law.

Texas Law on Firearms Confiscation

In Texas, Government Code Chapter 418 (EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT) permits the Governor to declare a State of Disaster which suspends certain state laws and regulations to allow local authorities to conduct rescue and recovery operations.

However, it does not allow for the seizure of any legally owned firearms, with limited exception.


Sec. 418.003.  LIMITATIONS.  This chapter does not:

(5)  except as provided by Section 418.184, authorize the seizure or confiscation of any firearm or ammunition from an individual who is lawfully carrying or possessing the firearm or ammunition;

Sec. 418.184.  FIREARMS.

(a)  A peace officer who is acting in the lawful execution of the officer’s official duties during a state of disaster may disarm an individual if the officer reasonably believes it is immediately necessary for the protection of the officer or another individual.

(b)  The peace officer shall return a firearm and any ammunition to an individual disarmed under Subsection (a) before ceasing to detain the individual unless the officer:

(1)  arrests the individual for engaging in criminal activity; or

(2)  seizes the firearm as evidence in a criminal investigation.

To read Governor Abbott’s actual declaration, click here.

Florida Law on Firearms Confiscation

Article IV, Section 1(a) of the Florida Constitution permits the Governor to issue an Executive Order to declare a State of Emergency in times of a natural disaster, allowing him to enact provisions of the State’s Emergency Management Plan.

For Hurricane Irma, the Executive Order provides specific provisions regarding the activities permissible to state and local officials during the emergency, as provided for in  Florida Statutes beginning with Chapter 252.31  “State Emergency Management Act.”

In part, the Executive Order states:

Section 2. I designate the Director of the Division of Emergency Management as the State Coordinating Officer for the duration of this emergency and direct him to execute the State’s Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan and other response, recover, and mitigation plans necessary to cope with the emergency. Pursuant to section 252.36(1)(a), Florida Statutes, I delegate to the State Coordinating Officer the authority to exercise those powers delineated in sections 252.36(5)-(10), Florida Statutes, which he shall exercise as needed to meet this emergency, subject to the limitations of section 252.33, Florida Statutes.

But those powers have certain limitations with regards to firearms. In particular,

Chapter 252.36(5)(h) states the Governor may:

(h) Suspend or limit the sale, dispensing, or transportation of alcoholic beverages, firearms, explosives, and combustibles. However, nothing contained in ss. 252.31-252.90 shall be construed to authorize the seizure, taking, or confiscation of firearms that are lawfully possessed, unless a person is engaged in the commission of a criminal act.

Final Word

So, there you have it. During our times of disaster, we can all focus on recovery and not have to worry about the authorities coming along and confiscating our firearms. The Second Amendment survives disasters.


U.S. Virgin Islands Confiscating Firearms

On Tuesday, the island’s Governor ordered the National Guard to confiscate weapons and ammo that may be required for them to carry out their mission.  What that specifically means is unclear. Also, the U.S. Virgin Islands is not governed by the U.S. Constitution, but instead by the “Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands,” a federal law approved by Congress in 1954. The island does not have its own constitution yet.

The NRA has threatened to file a lawsuit, and here is their take:

In 1997, the chairman of the House Committee on Resources asked the General Accounting Office (GAO) to clarify just how the U.S. Constitutional applies to various “U.S. Insular Areas,” including the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its findings were inconclusive and unsettling, especially to those now living under Governor Mapp’s orders. Said the report:

Under the Insular Cases and subsequent decisions, rights other than fundamental rights, even though they may be stated in the Constitution, do not apply to the territories or possessions unless the Congress makes them applicable by legislation. The Congress can by law extend the coverage of the Constitution in part or in its entirety to a territory or possession, and has done so with respect to some territories. In the absence of such congressional action, however, only fundamental rights apply.

Digging further, one finds that only parts of the Fifth Amendment are considered to be “fundamental” based on court rulings, and none of the Sixth Amendment applies. And nothing is said in the 75-page report about the Second.

If the NRA does sue and their position is sustained by the courts that people living on the island are U.S. Citizens with full protection of the U.S. Constitution, the issue will be settled. If not, or no suit is filed, those living on the island will be subjected to having their weapons confiscated by the National Guard.

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Comments (44)

  1. Those who say that if you resist gun confiscation then you will die.
    Yes you may. When you loose your fear of dying you are truly free.
    They use your fear of death to keep you in control. Yes you will live
    But what kind of life will you have? They didn’t say “Give me liberty
    Or give me death” for nothing. Never sell out your God given liberties
    for a bowl of socialist porridge.

  2. Are we such a selfish People that we are to only be concerned with our individual right to bear arms. Have you ever wondered why the discussion is almost always centered around the individual right & not our collective right to band together in a well regulated militia. The powers that be do not want us banded together. An armed group of people exercising their right to peaceably assemble with arms scares them to death. I firmly believe that a well regulated militia would solve many of the problems we have been experiencing from our government servants eroding our rights. If we peacefully assemble with our arms and rally to protect each other, there is not much they can do. They are not gonna want to make us angry. Can you imagine how our legislatures would vote on bills if there was an armed militia peaceably assembled outside the capitol building waiting to hear the turn out of the vote? I bet they would not be voting along party lines. So lets get educated & organize & hold the public servants accountable for their rights violations. Our rights trump their sense of safety & security.



      § 241. Conspiracy against rights
      If two or more persons conspire to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any inhabitant of any State, Territory, or District in the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having so exercised the same; or
      If two or more persons go in disguise on the highway, or on the premises of another, with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege so secured –
      They shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results, they shall be subject to imprisonment for any term of years or for life.

      § 242. Deprivation of rights under color of law
      Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any inhabitant of any State, Territory, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such inhabitant being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results shall be subject to imprisonment for any term of years or for life.

      Police civil liability under section 1983: When do police officers act under color of law?
      The basis of your lawsuit against a judge will probably be that you were deprived of your civil rights. These suits are called ÔÇ£section 1983ÔÇØ cases, which is the section of a federal statute that authorizes them.[7]
      The elusive distinction between bribery and extortion: from the common law to the Hobbs Act

      Can The Government Confiscate My Firearms During a Disaster?
      (a) PROHIBITION ON CONFISCATION OF FIREARMS ÔÇô No officer or employee of the United States (including any member of the uniformed services), or person operating pursuant to or under color of Federal law, or receiving Federal funds, or under control of any Federal official, or providing services to such an officer, employee, or other person, while acting in support of relief from a major disaster or emergency, may:

  3. Am not afraid or too proud to admit that if a scenario of well armed and body protected officials came to confiscate my weapon , I would calmly hand them over,
    Gramps raised no fool and in such an Instance commiing suicide over inanimate steel, Aluminum, plastic should not enter the picture
    If it was a blatant National Program I would comply, and live to fight on another day and in my own way.
    I Don’t care if you live in a reinforced bunker there is no way you can win against the armed might of military or some of our now fully militarized police.
    It isn’t hard to talk of cold dead fingers if you speak out of a half brain dead head.
    You fight to live not die. Unless you are an Islamic fanatic driving a Toyota truck full of explosives while wearing a suicide vest.
    He’ll even a red neck knows there are hardly 70 virgins within the US.

    1. So, Mr Hide Behind – Your Gramps may not have raised a fool, but don’t kid yourself that you will do anything much effective “to fight on another day and in my own way” after surrendering to gun-grabbers. That might require you to put your life at risk. There are no safe spaces for any snowflake participants during revolutions. Before you call others “half brain dead”, consider that OUR fathers (evidently yours wasn’t around, or you wouldn’t have been raised by your Gramps) may have taught us that tyranny must absolutely be resisted. That’s especially true as some of us with that mind-set are aging and ailing to the point where living forever is not an option, even in our delusions. (By the way, my apologies and respect to your father IF he died serving our country. Mothers and grandparents sometimes do not impart the same Scots-Irish cussedness as fathers, and to lose a father is always tragic.)

  4. Am not afraid or too proud to admit that if a scenario of well armed and body protected officials came to confiscate my weapon , I would calmly hand them over,
    Gramps raised no fool and in such an Instance commuting suicide over inanimate steel, Aluminum, plastic should not enter the picture
    If it was a blatant National Program I would comply, and live to fight on another day and in my own way.
    I Don’t care if you live in a reinforced bunker there is no way you can win against the armed might of military or some of our now fully militarized police.
    It isn’t hard to talk of cold dead fingers if you speak out of a half brain dead head.
    You fight to live not die. Unless you are an Islamic fanatic driving a Toyota truck full of explosives while wearing a suicide vest.
    He’ll even a red neck knows there are hardly 70 virgins within the US.

  5. Maybe YOU should take a look at the reality of immediate post-Katrina Louisiana. Yes, the NRA did sue, AFTER the police across several jurisdictions had carried out highly effective search & destroy missions hunting for firearms in both occupied and unoccupied residences. Yes, the NRA did win the lawsuit and did get a nearly worthless court order directing the police to return firearms. But the reality is that nearly all the confiscated firearms were AT LEAST damaged, many were destroyed, many (perhaps most, we will never know) were never returned because the owners could not prove their ownership (no receipts were issued for the confiscated firearms – how many of your firearms could you PROVE belonged to you, especially after your home had been flooded any most of your paper records were destroyed by the flood — did you even keep the original sales receipt for every firearm you own, and does that receipt include the description AND SERIAL NUMBER of each firearm). And, no they have NOT paid for the guns that were damaged or destroyed. Any owner claiming damage must first prove that they did own the firearm, then file a claim for the damage – then either accept the ludicrous offer or individually sue the agency (which costs more than most of the firearms are worth, so they generally do accept whatever little is offered – if anything).

    Your absurd view that Ruby Ridge was a win for the RKBA side is so far out of touch with reality as to make all your comments a farce.

    1. Cannot stress how important proof of ownership and as I found out when arguing with IRS the value of those weapons.
      I had, let’s just say an extensive amount of weapons when Our home burned clear to ground, and back then no fireproof safes.
      Some of those weapons were over 150 years. ORIGINAL Hawkins and even British Bess or two.
      I got no tax break at all as I had also lost all reciepts, of those with such, as they said Los guns could of been junk.
      Today when I buy any weapon I keep receipts and then through small gun store I get written evaluations and place both in Bank lock box.
      Just a word to save headaches if, hopefully never. Same happens or a theft occurs.
      One can go feds to check type and serial numbers to see if ever stolen.
      To those who are registered as antiquity the paper work is a must have safe and even anotherfireproof record box inside.

  6. Forgotten is the old phrase; “There is The Law and then there is The Spirit of the Law” and those words were first put into proper context within England as Natual Law versus Crown Edicts and then resurfaced before there was a US colonial period.
    Thomas Jefferson expressed that idylic phrase in his writings when mentioning what the populace must guard against, the abuse of central lawmakers of laws.
    It is that very sentiment that was cause for the establishment of the third but equal branch of government, Supreme Court.
    The 2nd Amendment was not in effect at Katrina, Ruby Ridge, WACO, or even today when our police, Fed and supercitizen LEO’s partake of powers way beyond Civil Rights protections and their fellow officers ever complain. Making them complicit.
    Today new laws reflect the surrendering of the Spirit of the 2nd Amendment so as to have legal permission, and of course identity politics given to LEO’s special dispensation from government that supersedes the Spirit of equality under laws of this nations belief of sovereignty of each individual.
    I mention LEO as but an example of but one means wherby the Central powers can and do deliberately form seperations within the American populace.
    ALSO as to how Words put into play by willing seperatist affect the “Spirit” by LEO’s as seperations of them versus ” civilians”.
    What good are ideals if one is not ready to suffer the consequences that may arise when you stand forth for them?

  7. As to the “these are neighbors, friends, fathers, mothers and family to someone you know. Do you really want to be the one who killed your best friends uncle. Who was the father to 3 little girls.” argument about law enforcement involved in violating God-given Second Amendment rights to self-defense: If they do that, they are no different, except as to language spoken, from the Nazi goons who confiscated firearms from Jews in Germany in the 1930s. Their leader had also been democratically elected under the laws of the country. Those brownshirts had little girls and nephews, many of whom also ended up dead in World War II.

  8. To all those willing to start shooting the minute the authorities show up to your door. I say, remember these are neighbors, friends, fathers, mothers and family to someone you know. Do you really want to be the one who killed your best friends uncle. Who was the father to 3 little girls. Better yet make preparations to make sure that they cannot find your guns. Water proof burial vaults, hidden wall safes or walled off attic storage. The authorities are going to be to busy to extensively search your house or property. And when asked about your guns, just explain that in advance of the emergency your transported your firearms out of state. If they take you to jail, it is a lot easier get you out of jail, then it will be to get your guns back. I worked at a cop shop and know of guns that were held for years.

  9. People, like “governor” Mapp, can be DE-elected. So, to those of you under his rule, has better get busy!

    No matter what he really meant in that order, it was so poorly worded that proper interpretation and implementation were impossible. Who wants someone like that making decisions for THEIR government?

    Then, there is the reported anarchy that occurred in the aftermath of the storm on SOME islands. Being without your firearms would be unthinkable.

    No matter where you live, I have an idea as to how to respond when the governmental thugs come to confiscate your firearms: “You’re too late. The non-governmental thugs were here earlier and beat you to them.” Close the door.

  10. Any person of authority will do whatever they want during any emergency situation. An emergency in their mind that is. You do not have to comply. In New Orleans, they were not ransacking peoples houses, they were just asking if there were any firearms in the house, and people complied due to the fear of breaking the law. (The law that the cops just made-up at the moment) The criminals did not comply BTW

    1. @ Stan,

      When I read someone make such outrageously inaccurate of a comment as you have here, I have no choice but to correct the disservice you do to the true history of what really occurred and the people that actually suffered the severity of a contrasting reality.

      Nothing could be further from the truth in what you wrote, and I quote:

      “In New Orleans, they were not ransacking peoples houses, they were just asking if there were any firearms in the house, and people complied due to the fear of breaking the law.”

      As a law enforcement officer I do have internal access to more accurate reports and firsthand knowledge as to what really transpired, but it doesn’t take much for the general public to research and find that confiscations in New Orleans went far beyond the mild manner as you’ve claimed.

      Law enforcement did in fact proactively go door-to-door entering and searching vacant and occupied houses to specifically confiscated firearms. There were claims filed for damages made later which does constitute “ransacking”.

      Many people in transit under evacuation submitted claims after having their weapons destroyed by law enforcement who had confiscated and then smashed them against the curb to disable them because there were too many already confiscated and nowhere else to store them.

      One of the most widely known videos is by a local news crew that was trying to do a story on an elderly woman who decided to stay in her home. Her home was high and dry and she was showing off her stockpile of food and her unloaded revolver when several law enforcement officers who had also been invited in suddenly and violently tackled the elderly woman to the ground and punched her until she released her gun.

      There are scores of stories by military personnel who were assigned to accompany law enforcement on rescue patrols and later spoke out about how they got into conflicts with local law enforcement when they realized they were unlawfully “ransacking” homes to confiscate firearms. This is all documented in reports that went up the military chain of command.

      There are far more horror stories than I can offer in one post. So below I‘ve provided a link to one of many videos that should help to re-orient you into the reality of what actually did occur:

  11. If the government attempts to seize your firearms, you better had considered it an illegal, unconstitutional government and take action with said firearm(s).

    1. Yawn. More “Cold Dead Hands” rhetoric.

      My bet is that you back down when faced with a squad in level III or IV body armor carrying machine guns.

      But if I’m wrong and you don’t back down, they will just as happily do exactly that — they WILL take your gun from your cold dead hands

    2. TomC,

      As you wet yourself fantasizing over the prospect of totalitarian death-squads desecrating our Second Amendment protections, you would do well to be reminded how your bromance with your Level IV armor clad heroes actually goes down:

      In Katrina they abandoned their posts, joined in with looting, their police chief resigned, and their mayor went to prison. In the end the NRA sued in federal courts and made them return all the guns they confiscated and pay for the ones they destroyed.

      In the two most recent notable federal stand-offs, law enforcement was overwhelmed with the presence of committed citizenry firepower and was forced to stand down. The result left hundreds of firearms in the very warm-living-hands of those participants.

      Even more notable stand-offs such as Ruby Ridge ended in the suspect’s acquittal for killing a federal agent who had tried to take his guns from his land.

      So go ahead and yawn all you want, but there are plenty more successful incursions where true patriots have stood their ground and done their duty to keep our totalitarian government at bay.

      Since you really haven’t a clue what is in the mind and muscle of Todd Duffey, I submit that your post was more a confession as to how you would cowardly kowtow when faced with the defense of your God-given rights. Probably best you leave Todd Duffey out of your personal weaknesses.

    3. True, but if you don’t make a stand and I am talking about 1000s of people than our rights 2nd A don’t mean a thing, whats stopping an Trany Gov, from makin g some bS up just to take your guns like Hillary may have done or this S.A.T. thing with the UN that will not g o away. they can’t wait to send in the blue hats,

  12. “… the passage of state and federal laws to prevent such confiscations from occurring in the future.”

    Some, not all states may have followed suit.

  13. Hey folks, the governor of the American Virgin Islands just did it and nothing has been said or done about it. They can have mine after they kill me and thats the only damn way, no matter who the hell it is.

    1. @ William M Durham,

      You must have not read the entire article. The last section is quite large and was entirely dedicated to Governor Mapp’s illegal order of confiscation in the Virgin Islands and the NRA’s response.

      So contrary to your belief that nothing was ever “said or done about it”, it was actually all over the news. Fox News even forced the Governor to publicly answer to his order in an interview on live TV.

      While Governor Mapp called his interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox a “clarification”, most saw it as a verbal retraction of his confiscation order because he knew he had no authority to do it in the first place.

      Furthermore, I posted a rather in-depth analysis of that situation and the legal aspects of the NRA’s take in this forum. If you are interested to read that, follow the link below:

  14. They’re not taking mine without paying for them or returning them. I’d fight them in court forever if I have to.

  15. the same question for owners is will i or will i not give up my guns. i could think of no better way to die then in the support of the second amendment.

    our framers knew governments get abusive and left the right to over through an abusive government. if or government decides to take the guns from the citizenry i will not give them up. they can come and kill me first. this government has drifted way to close to communism as it stands now. we need to get back to our capitalist roots. there is a reason we became world leader and it wasn’t becasue of our communistic government. capitalism works and communism does not for one simple human trait. it is called greed. you work harder then others and you get more. sure when a communistic type government comes to power, it is becasue they promise everyone they will take care of them. in reality they don’t and it is forced labor.because there is no incentive. productivity keeps decreasing until the government can not support itself..

  16. They say “we are here to confiscate your firearms”.
    I say you can have them bullets first! It will mean less law enforcement officers or military to take others firearms. I don’t give 2 $h!ts what they THINK they can do. The U.S. Constitution TRUMPS all other laws. Unless they pass an amendment – the laws are unconstitutional – PERIOD!

  17. Most people in New Orleans did NOT get their guns back! They were required to show PROOF of ownership! I have no paperwork on my Great Grandfathers double rabbiteared Greener! I’ll just keep it put away! Who has proof of ownership on “hand-me-downs”?

  18. Note that buried in that federal law is “or receiving federal funds”. Most large agencies receive federal funds, so this confiscation restriction should apply to them. But, Gary still has a point. When the SHTF, what the law says doesn’t matter — LE will do what they want or were told to do. You can sue them after the fact but that isn’t a great remedy and does not help at the time. Some in Louisiana got their guns back and they were complete rusted and ruined.

  19. The best defense is to make sure the sheriff that you elect understands and supports the Constitution and understands that an unlawful order is of no effect.

  20. What most people don’t understand is that this law only prohibits confiscation by FEDERAL officers/employees/contractors/military it doesn’t prohibit city or states from confiscating weapons during a disaster. The local sheriff or police department can still confiscate your weapons based on a city ordinance or state law or order from city or state authorities. Telling people that they don’t have to worry about confiscation during a disaster might make them feel better now, but they’ll be in for a shock when the local police start confiscating guns during a disaster.

    1. I to have concern about how local LEOs will handle the issue. I live where the local dam emegancy spillway failed. Which prompted the evacuation of some 150 -200,000 people. Many County and City LEOs worked tirelessly to move all those people. The National Guard was staged but not used. I have not heard of any confiscations todate. But will now inquire at all the Counties gun shops. Advise taken… Print copy of Federal Law and place in Gun Safe and hope for best. Can be a tough issue to sort out.

    2. I wonder just how far they would go in such a pursuit of your firearms. Let’s say you had firearms secreted away somewhere and/or told them they had been damaged / destroyed / stolen, etc., what could they do about it?

  21. Thanks for spelling that out. Guys might want to print out a copy of the actual law and keep it in your safe.

  22. What can they really take? It’s my belief that the only part of a firearm that can be confiscated is the stripped receiver because that is the only part that is regulated by the ATF all the rest of is your to keep!!!

  23. the Texas laws do leave a loophole for them to take weapons How many people have been shot because an officer felt threatened, texas law allows officer to take firearms “for the protection of himself or others”, then there is the resisting arrest claim officers use to arrest people.

  24. So the answer is, no they are not allowed to.
    Yes, they *can*, unless you want to really get yourself arrested or shot. If not killed, your problems are just beginning. Being found not guilty, but broke, (and that’s the good resolution) isn’t my idea of justice.
    There is always a difference between “can” and “aren’t allowed to”.

  25. Funny how the above verbiage, expert opinion, and discussion about the existence and complexities of recent law only exists because the direct, concise, and straightforward words, “shall not be infringed” are widely ignored!

  26. This is nonsense. There is no issue of “Rights” that an NRA lawsuit needs to settle; this is because the U.S. Virgin Islands is in-fact already one of those territories in which Congress has made the Second Amendment inclusively applicable through legislation.

    The “Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands” signed by Congress in 1954 authorized the Virgin Islands to have a Bill of Rights called “Rights and Prohibitions”. While it only admits partial articles, sections and clauses from our Constitution, it specifically extends the entire “first to ninth amendments [as] inclusive”.

    Simply put, there is no ambiguity or exceptions where the Second Amendment applies within this specific territory.

    Thereafter, it is absolutely preposterous that anyone would even look to this GAO report as some form of legal bases to question whether the citizens of the Virgin Islands have Second Amendment protections – given the matter was clearly already settled back in 1954.

    Furthermore, even if their Second Amendment rights were in question, this product produced by the GAO is merely an ad hoc report-by-request and has no legal legislative enforcement authority whatsoever.

    Any lawyer or judge would simply refer to the “Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands” as the final legal say on the matter. They would easily find that Second Amendment rights flourish in the Virgin Islands.

    Moreover, the absence of any mention of the Second Amendment in the “75-page report” is equally inconsequential given the limited scope and purpose under which the House Committee on Resources requested the report to begin with.

    Specifically Congress requested the GAO compile information containing updates to a previous GAO report from 1991, but only asked for specifics on “judicial and legislative developments concerning the political or tax status of these areas”.

    Such a limited request could easily explain why the Second Amendment was not mention in their report.
    But why exploit the absence of only the Second Amendment when there were 24 other amendments that also were never mentioned in the report either? Many of those amendments are also actively in force within the several territories in some form or another.

    The only 2 amendments mentioned in the report were the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. But the only reason they were even cited to begin with was to offer examples of amendments that had come before the Supreme Court and resulted in a determination as to whether each were considered a “fundamental” right. Otherwise they served no other purpose in this report.

    And finally, even the GAO report acknowledges that in the absence of written legislation or court rulings, the Constitution provides that all territories will automatically enjoy the “fundamental” personal rights and protections offered under the Constitution, of which, overwhelmingly includes the Second Amendment. So even without legislative approval, their Second Amendment rights were never in question.

    Whether back-peddling or not, the Governor of the Virgin Islands later clarified his order by publicly stating he does NOT have the power by Virgin Islands’ law or the Constitution of the United States to seize weapons from citizens.

    As much of a stretch as it appears, the Governor instead said his order was intended to authorize his National Guard to skip normal procurement procedures to quickly purchase arms and ammunition at local outlets should the urgent need arise.

    However, any reasonable person reading his order would beg to differ. Nevertheless, no rights were violated and no weapons were ever confiscated. The NRA can now stand-down. That is, unless they want to sue over him writing such an order to begin with and force him to retract it in writing.

    1. good article G. unfortunately some people get government jobs, because of latent bully personalities. a lot of police are that way and should be removed, but the blue code keeps them working. it is the same with our elected leaders and even though some people are not that way, they become drunk with power. they are insulated from suits and in the end it costs us lots of money.

      there are plenty of laws on the books that are obviously illegal. the cost to get them changed leaves very few people or organizations that can stop the obviously bad law.

      for instance a lot of states have taken our gun rights. is it right? i think not but they have been doing it for a long time. Hawaii for instance, and a lot of the north eastern states. i have tried all my life to live the laws but depending on the law, should someone ignore the law and break the law that is in it’s-self a bad law? i believe it is the duty of the population to protect their rights. the problem is even governments get to the point of abusing our constitution, why? in my opinion we are back at individuals doing the damage to effect their bullying in-stinks. there are a lot of laws like that now..

      our country has drifted toward communism for a long time. call it socialism if you want, but it has effect our country and reduced productivity. we have made laws to restrict capitalism from doing the right thing. companies have gotten overly burdened by the state in an effort to increase the blood letting, sorry monetary letting of the companies. it reduces their spending which reverberates though the whole community.. so to reduce the drain on their capital, they move to other nations to keep it from happening. billions of dollars are gone right now. this has been done already. business and the people in them are not stupid. we do these things to to increase the governments revenue and what really happens is we reduce our revenue. this even happened with the minimum wage legislature. to fix it, the businesses stopped having full time, a lot of the full time employees to part time. so, instead of helping the guy at the bottom we made it worse.

      our country has f###ed up our productive capitalistic society. our country has taken our freedoms away to make us live the way they want. how is that freedom. i want my freedom back. freedom to make my own decisions.. prohibition is just that, no matter what you call it. the war on drugs is just one example. if i want to do heroin it is my business and no one else.

      i hope we can start reducing government and allow freedom back in our country. i am to old to see the end, but it would be nice to see it start to go back towards reduced government. get productivity back and increase our standard of living again. there are reasons a lot of reasons why productivity has fallen, but we could tackle a few of them to start with.

  27. We must always be on guard when it comes to the 2nd Amendment!
    On the other hand, what is one to do if the police tell you to give up your firearm?
    I understand they have a job to do and when ordered to Confiscate someone firearm even know the person has not done anything wrong do we have a right to resist?
    Are we to shoot it out with the police or wait and hope we have our day in court.
    The future is not as bright as I would like to see it.
    Time will tell all!

  28. Remember that one needs to exercise common sense when having conversations with law-enforcement officers, especially during times of high stress and emergency.

    To put it bluntly, one should carefully consider the wisdom of a physical confrontation when a peace officer, even unlawfully, demands one’s weapon.

    That does not mean that one should voluntarily stack one’s weapons in plain sight to avoid the challenge. Better to make sure one’s weapons are stored discreetly, safely, and securely in multiple locations to minimize the impact of any unlawful taking or theft of property.

  29. As a practical matter, for most of us reading this blog, it’s a “Pry my cold dead fingers …” kind of thing. Laws change, and we gun rights folks are riding high right now, but next time the “Progressives” get in, it may be same old $41+, different year.

  30. The authors did great research but they answered the wrong question! The mistake they made was that they missed the difference between the questions “Can they?” vs “May they?” The article title posed the question “Can they” but the article answered the question “May they”.

    There are numerous variations on the story about the child asking their mother “Can I have a piece of cake?” and the mother answering “Yes you can but no you may not” in an attempt to teach a little grammar.

    Bottom line here is simple enough, May they confiscate your weapons? No. Can they confiscate your weapons? Of course they can (Despite all the “cold dead hands” rhetoric that I’m sure will be posted.)

    The confiscation of firearms in New Orleans after Katrina was illegal, and the courts ordered it to cease and the firearms to be returned — ask firearms owners how much good those orders did them – and ask the firearms owners who were physically assaulted by police enforcing the confiscation order how much good the law did them.

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