Thursday, March 15, 2007

Protecting your right to defend yourself

The Senate has passed legislation to prohibit local government from confiscating weapons during an emergency. The Associate Press reports. "Senate OKs bill to bar taking guns during emergency"


Associated Press

People could not have their guns taken away during an emergency under a bill that won first-round approval Wednesday from the Senate.

The legislation spells out that no government or individual can decide in an emergency to take away guns and ammunition from those who lawfully possess them.

"It's not adding any rights. It's just preventing the rights from being taken away from them," said Sen. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington.

The impetus for the bill is the response to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in August 2005.

State and federal law enforcement officers there confiscated hundreds of guns after the levees failed and the city began to flood. Several pro-gun groups, including the National Rifle Association, sued, and the city last spring began returning the weapons to owners who had paperwork for them.

Since the hurricane, gun-rights groups have launched nationwide campaigns to prevent the seizure of guns during emergencies.

But one senator said the legislation goes too far and proposed various failed amendments that would have added restrictions to gun owners' rights.

"You have set up here an absolute right as broad as the ocean," said Sen. Joan Bray, D-St. Louis. "I don't think guns need to be such a big part of problem solving."

The measure eventually was approved on a voice vote. It needs a second vote to move to the House, where a similar measure is already pending.

It will be interesting to see how the current crop of presidential hopefuls in the Congress (e.g., Hillary Clinton, etc.) vote on this one.

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