The Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced on Thursday that they confiscated a “substantial amount” of firearms from the homes of evacuees who left their town of High River in Alberta, Canada, due to severe flooding.
“We have seized a large quantity of firearms simply because they were left by residents in their places,” Sgt. Brian Topham told the Calgary Herald.
Topham added that the forced entry into the homes and the seizure of the firearms was both a favor to the residents and a way to ensure the safety of the public during the deluge.
“We just want to make sure that all of those things are in a spot that we control, simply because of what they are,” Topham added. “People have a significant amount of money invested in firearms … so we put them in a place that we control and that they’re safe,” Topham added.
In addition to taking away residents’s lawfully owned property, about 30 RCMP put down a spike strip and set up a blockade to prevent homeowners from returning to High River to assess the damage wrought by the flood.
Naturally, this situation pissed off a lot of people.
“I find that absolutely incredible that they have the right to go into a person’s belongings out of their home,” resident Brenda Lackey told the Calgary Herald. “When people find out about this there’s going to be untold hell to pay.”
“This is the reason the U.S. has the right to bear arms,” noted resident Charles Timpano at the blockade on Thursday (see video below).
Although the confiscation and the subsequent blockade angered a lot of residents, it’s evidently legal under the law.
Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis, who spoke to CTV News on Friday, said that the RCMP have the right under the Criminal Code to secure property in the event of an emergency.
“The key thing is, it’s storage, it’s not confiscation or seizure,” Denis said. “My only concern is, during the flood there may be vital documents that have been destroyed by the flood and what happens in the event that an individual doesn’t have access to that information to actually obtain their private property when it’s safe to do so.”
In other words, those who do not have paperwork or those who are unable to provide proof of ownership may be out of luck when it comes time to reclaim their firearms.
Though, Denis told CTV News that over the course of the next few weeks he’ll be working diligently with the RCMP to ensure the firearms are returned to their lawful owners as they come home.
What are your thoughts? Did the RCMP do the right thing? Or did they cross a line by “storing” residents’s firearms?
Guns.com would like to thank loyal reader Mike I for bringing this story to our attention.
(Cover Photo Credit: Calgary Herald)