The votes on these bills have been absolutely overwhelming. If this doesn't show that everyone understands that guns are necessary to defend people when the police can't be there, I don't know what does.Start of hurricane season triggers gun debate
By Carrie Sheffield
June 6, 2006
The start of hurricane season has become a selling point for gun-rights legislation spurred by Hurricane Katrina.
During the during storm’s chaotic aftermath, government officials hoping to ensure public safety seized hundreds of legally owned guns from Louisiana residents, some seeking to protect themselves from pillagers and assailants. The seizures have triggered outrage among gun-rights activists, spawning a lawsuit and bills nationwide to ban future confiscations.
“These people were left to defend themselves from criminals,” said Chris Cox, chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association (NRA). “It really became the proving ground for what American gun owners have always feared, and that’s the day that bureaucrats threw the Bill of Rights in the trash can.”
Cox and other lobbyists are pushing for a bill that would ban government officials from seizing firearms during emergencies, saying it would ensure protection for law-abiding citizens when they need it most. Opponents say it could hamper law enforcement’s ability to stabilize turbulent situations. . . .
Since Katrina, state legislators in Louisiana, Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida and Arizona have unveiled bills that would ban weapons seizures by state and local officials during emergencies. In Washington, S. 2599 and H.R. 5013 would prevent federal officials from making the confiscations. Proponents are using the start of the hurricane season last week as a selling point for moving the legislation swiftly.
“It’s a very important bill based on our experience, especially with hurricane season starting June 1 this year,” said the bill’s House sponsor, Rep. Bobby Jindal (R-La.).
Gun-rights strategists say they will easily garner enough votes to approve the federal measure, prompting critics to condemn what could result in the suspension of local gun-control laws and could make criminals of law-enforcement officials who confiscate abandoned weapons.
In the House, members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, including ranking member Rep. Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), approved the bill on a voice vote May 17. . . .