To those of us who revere the U.S. Constitution and are particularly fond of the Second Amendment, the phrase “gun confiscation” is one that sends chills down our spines.
Though many people assume gun confiscations could never occur in this great and free nation, Fox News host Tucker Carlson recently pointed out how an emergency policy to confiscate guns was instituted in 2017 in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but never rescinded once that emergency had passed.
Carlson invited the chair of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), onto his Wednesday program to discuss what he’s doing to address the seemingly unconstitutional issue.
The authorization to confiscate firearms and ammunition from private citizens was contained in an executive order issued by Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp in 2017 as Hurricane Irma barreled its way toward the small islands — yet even as the storm passed within days and the post-storm recovery has largely taken place, the order remains in place.
In fact, the executive order that allows for the confiscation of the private property of citizens has even been renewed six times by Mapp since first issued, despite the emergency that it was predicated upon having long past.
The mayor of New Orleans made a similar confiscatory order in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bishop noted, but that order was later ruled unconstitutional by the courts.
Bishop’s committee, in conjunction with the House Judiciary Committee, has sent a letter to Gov. Mapp demanding to know any and all information related to the order, including any official documents that explained how the order would be implemented, what circumstances would warrant the seizure of firearms and if any firearms had been seized.
Gov. Mapp insisted no guns were ever seized and that was never the intention of the order, which he suggested was merely a method for the islands’ National Guard troops to procure weapons and ammunition during the emergency through other than normal procurement means.
“Why in the hell would you make this order in the first place?” the congressman wondered, much less why such an order would be subsequently renewed six additional times.
“We don’t know if it’s actually been used or implemented or if anything has been confiscated,” explained Bishop, hence the congressional inquiry.
“(The Second Amendment) isn’t about hunting, it’s not about collection. It’s an individual right to self-defense,” said Bishop with regard to how important the right to keep and bear arms is for the citizenry, particularly in times of a stressful emergency, such as before, during and after a major natural disaster like a hurricane.
Congress should quickly get to the bottom of this potentially unconstitutional executive order, as it undermines a fundamental right of the citizenry and could be used as a precedent by other state leaders if allowed to stand unchallenged.