The National Rifle Association announced Tuesday the organization is ready to engage in a legal fight to stop an order signed by U.S. Virgin Islands governor Kenneth Mapp to enable the government to seize personal firearms and ammunition ahead of Hurricane Irma.
“People need the ability to protect themselves during times of natural disaster,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. “This dangerous order violates the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens and puts their lives at risk.”
Following the destruction of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin put forth a similar order and authorities began seizing legally owned firearms by private citizens.
The NRA also intervened in federal court in that situation, stopping the confiscations, and the court ordered officials to return the seized firearms. Congress passed legislation thereafter, backed by the NRA, to ban the confiscation of legal firearms by law-abiding citizens during emergencies. In 2006, President George W. Bush signed the bill 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,” Cox said.