The Second Amendment is one of the most cherished American freedoms, and yet it is constantly under assault. This week, one governor used a natural disaster as an excuse to seize weapons and ammunition.
Governor Kenneth Mapp of the US Virgin Islands issued an emergency order allowing the National Guard to seize private firearms and ammo as part of the island’s response to Hurricane Irma. The order, which was signed on Monday, allows the Adjutant General to confiscate all private property in order to “protect” the island.
“This is not an opportunity to go outside and try to have fun with a hurricane,” Governor Mapp said, “It’s not time to get on a surfboard.”
Hurricane Irma is currently listed as a Category 5 storm. This means that the winds are expected to reach as high as 185 mph. 15,000 people in the Caribbean are bracing for the storm’s impact, although many have already been evacuated. Even more citizens in Florida may be affected by Hurricane Irma.
Mapp’s directive is downright scary. According to him and his government, the seizure of personal firearms and ammunition are “necessary” to protect people from the storm.
So far, Mapp and his government have not explained why it is necessary to seize private property without due process.
The order itself only brings up the generally vague term of “public order.”
Many conservatives have reacted to this news by bringing up the fact that New Orleans police officers and National Guard soldiers confiscated firearms in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Even though state and federal officials failed to restore public order, they still found time to take away private firearms.
Writer Samuel T. Francis called such actions “anarcho-tyranny.” Francis described anarcho-tyranny as “we refuse to control real criminals (that’s the anarchy) so we control the innocent (that’s the tyranny).”
Another paleolibertarian writer, Murray Rothbard, characterized the state as the entity that destroys civilization, liberty, and the God-given right to property. Neither Francis or Rothbard would be surprised by Governor Mapp’s decision. After all, the state will use any excuse to expand its power.
US Virgin Islands governor allows the National Guard to seize private firearms and ammo as response to Hurricane Irma. Is a government gun seizure EVER justified?
Mapp, who was a Republican until 2001, is likely thinking that the seizure of weapons is one way to cut out the possibility of looting. The order, which is already in effect, does not warn citizens that their firearms will be taken away, rather it encourages state forces to take the guns and ammunition away without reason.
What is seen in the Virgin Islands is, in a sense, Max Weber’s maxim that the centralized state’s animating principle is their monopoly on force. Governor Mapp believes in the liberal totalitarian idea that only the state has the right to exercise violence. This notion goes against the US Constitution, which grants people the right to use violence in order to defend their lives and property.
The story of the US Virgin Islands is a dark reminder of why giving governments more power is never a good idea. Once imbued with new security power, the state will ask for more and more. This directly threatens liberty.