Guns and Gear

Federal judge: Americans can bear the arms they keep

AWR Hawkins, Ph.D. Conservative Writer
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During the winter storms that pounded North Carolina in 2010, Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue declared a state of emergency. The city of King, N.C., followed suit, instituting a series of measures which included a prohibition on the possession of alcohol and firearms outside the home. This put North Carolinians in a difficult spot: there was a state of emergency, but if they ventured out of their homes for supplies, they were not allowed to take their guns along for personal protection. The ban also prevented them from buying ammo for their weapons.

In response to this draconian ban, Grass Roots North Carolina, the Second Amendment Foundation, Virgil Green of Stokes County, N.C., Michael Bateman of Washington, N.C., and Forrest Minges Jr. of New Bern, N.C., filed suit, claiming North Carolinians’ Second Amendment rights had been infringed.

Last Thursday, Senior U.S. Judge Malcolm J. Howard ruled: “While the bans imposed … may be limited in duration, it cannot be overlooked that the statutes strip peaceable, law-abiding citizens of the right to arm themselves in defense of hearth and home, striking at the very core of the Second Amendment.”

In other words, a state of emergency is not grounds for pre-empting or curtailing the people’s access to ammo or their God-given right to bear the arms they keep.

North Carolina’s emergency-declarations law dates back to 1969, when it was instituted to allow for a declaration of emergency in response to “public crisis, disaster, rioting, catastrophe or similar public emergency.” And while that’s fair enough, it’s absolutely outrageous that such a declaration would be used as a de facto gun ban on the citizens of North Carolina at a time when they may need protection more than ever.

Although the state has 30 days to appeal Judge Malcolm’s ruling, to date state officials have not done so.

AWR Hawkins is a conservative columnist who has written extensively on political issues for, Pajamas Media,, and Andrew Breitbart’s,,, and He holds a Ph.D. in U.S. military history from Texas Tech University, and was a visiting fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in the summer of 2010. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.