An Alabama city is considering an ordinance that would allow law enforcement to disarm citizens who appear to be acting “unruly” during a natural disaster or statewide crisis.
Guntersville Mayor Leigh Dollar spoke to local news affiliate ABC 31 about the impetus behind what’s been described as the ‘emergency powers resolution.’
“We are not trying to infringe upon anyone constitutional rights whatsoever. It’s just to protect the workers working out there in a disaster,” Dollar said.
In April of 2011, the city was hit by tornadoes causing lawmakers to rethink the way in which power is delegated during a state of emergency.
Those who support the resolution believe that when exigent circumstances arise the acting mayor should be able to respond without having to consult the city council for a vote, included is the provision to permit police to confiscate weapons from “unruly” individuals.
Naturally, the bill faces strong opposition from gun owners.
ABC 31 asked Paul Landry, a gun owner and music teacher at Guntersville Music Academy, what he thought about the ordinance.
“Well, it seems like an infringement on the 2nd Amendment and that’s the biggest problem I have with it,” said Landry.
What’s fascinating though, as another local news affiliate WHNT News 19 pointed out, is that a state law written in 1955 already gives police the power to seize an individual’s weapon provided he/she is endangering the officer or presenting a threat to others.
The Code of Alabama, 31-9-10, Section C 2 states:
A law enforcement officer who is acting in the lawful discharge of the officer’s official duties may disarm an individual if the officer reasonably believes that it is immediately necessary for the protection of the officer or another individual. The officer shall return the firearm to the individual before discharging that individual unless the officer arrests that individual for engaging in criminal activity or seizes the firearm as evidence pursuant to an investigation for the commission of a crime or, at the discretion of the officer, the individual poses a threat to himself or herself or to others.
According to WHNT News 19, it is “almost the exact same wording of the Guntersville ordinance,” which of course raises the question, why is Mayor Dollar and the city council pushing for what appears to be a redundant law?
Unfortunately, at this point, there is no clear answer. It could be that they’re ignorant of the state law or that the really believe that another law is necessary to protect the city from the nonexistent hordes of unruly gun owners that parade the streets in the wake of a tornado.
Whatever the case may be, anytime city, county, state, federal officials angle to pass confiscatory gun laws during or in the aftermath of a crisis (the precise time when one’s right to keep and bear arms is critically important) one should seriously question the motives of those in power.
This Guntersville ‘emergency powers resolution’ could just be a misguided public safety effort or veiled attempt at subverting one’s Second Amendment rights by broadening the conditions under which seizure of one’s firearm(s) is permissible – again, it’s hard to tell. But one thing’s for sure, there’s something suspicious about this grab for power.
The council will begin reviewing the ordinance on March 4.
Also, lest we forget, the lessons learned in the wake of Hurricane Katrina where law-abiding citizens where unlawfully stripped of their Second Amendment rights by local police and federal agents.
InfoWars.com, which also covered this story, posted the following video that speaks directly to this abuse of governmental authority: