Virgin Islands Governor Orders Gun Seizures in Advance of Hurricane Irma
*SEE UPDATES AT END OF COLUMN*
“U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp signed an emergency order allowing the seizure of private guns, ammunition, explosives and property the National Guard may need to respond to Hurricane Irma,” Michael Bastasch reported Tuesday at The Daily Caller. “The order allows the Adjutant General of the Virgin Islands to seize private property they believe necessary to protect the islands, subject to approval by the territory’s Justice Department.”
“The Adjutant General is authorized and directed to seize arms, ammunition, explosives, incendiary material and any other property that may be required by the military forces for the performance of this emergency mission, in accordance with the Rules of Force promulgated by the Virgin Islands National Guard and approved by the Virgin Islands Department of Justice,” Mapp declared in his order issued Monday.
This is a setup for the unconstitutional seizure of Hurricane Katrina all over again. Presumably, if a citizen defies the guard, the escalation of force up to and including lethal will be authorized and “legal.”
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“More than 4 million U.S. citizens and nationals live in insular areas under the jurisdiction of the United States. The Territorial Clause of the Constitution authorizes the Congress to “make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property” of the United States,” a 1997 U.S. General Accounting Office report to Congress acknowledged.
“People born in Puerto Rico, Guam, the CNMI, or the Virgin Islands are American citizens,” the report noted. “The residents of all five of the larger insular areas enjoy many of the rights enjoyed by U.S. citizens in the 50 states. But some rights which, under the Constitution, are reserved for citizens residing in the states have not been extended to residents of the insular areas.”
Licensing and registration ensure they’ll know just where to look for their seizures.
As for Governor Mapp, he was an NYPD “Only One” before moving his career to the Virgin Islands. He has taken the oath to the Constitution throughout that career, advancing through the Virgin Islands legislature to the governorship.
It’s fair to wonder about the competency of an administration of an island in the Caribbean that is so unprepared to experience a hurricane it needs to seize firearms from citizens in order to equip its troops. It’s also fair to wonder about the character of those who would strong-arm that citizenry into defenselessness at the very time they will need protection the most, and at a time when the “authorities” will have their hands more than full and vast areas will be left on their own for an indeterminate period.
You also have to wonder about the level of Constitutional understanding and fidelity of those who would obey such orders, and the character of those who disparage Oath Keepers for refusing to obey them.
And it would also be appropriate to pray for the people in the path of Irma, that they survive both the storm and the unconscionable additional risk imposed by their government.
UPDATE (A remembrance of a previous time):
“In a wave of lawlessness that spread across the island, eyewitnesses reported looting by men and women, children and the elderly, even police and National Guardsmen. Armed gangs were reported roaming the streets. Ham radio operators said between 300 and 500 inmates had broken out of a hurricane-damaged prison and were loose in the city.”
What better time to have laws in place that authorize disarming the people who obeyed them and registered their guns?
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David Codrea’s opinions are his own. See “Who speaks for Oath Keepers?”