As superstorm Sandy was preparing to pound the Eastern United States, Cam Edwards, of NRA News, joined Glenn Beck on his television program Monday to discuss Americans’ gun rights during a state of emergency.
“You need to know your rights,” Beck said. “This is what happens when people’s rights are trampled in an emergency…Somebody takes advantage of that situation,” he later added.
Beck went on to air part of a news report about a woman who was disarmed and forced from her home during Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.
Patty Konie explained to officers back in 2005 that her home was dry, she had plenty of food and she wanted to stay in her home with her dogs. However, police did not respect her request and forced her to leave. Further, when she revealed to officers that she had an unloaded handgun, officers tackled her to the floor and confiscated the gun — even though it was a legal firearm.
“I said, ‘it’s not even loaded,’ while I dropped it on the floor and they punched me in the face,” Konie says in the video report. “They dragged me out of here. I really thought they were going to kill me. I really did.”
Watch the segment via TheBlazeTV here:
Edwards said it is important that gun owners know their rights, especially ahead of potential disasters like Hurricane Sandy. In 2006, then-President George W. Bush signed an executive order called the Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act that strengthened individual gun rights during a national emergency.
“What that bill did…it basically says to law enforcement across the country, that you cannot violate the rights of American gun owners, even in a state of emergency, you can’t violate federal law, you can’t violate state law,” Edwards said. “If that happens, then the punishment for those law enforcement agencies is a loss in federal funding.”
“What we saw locally was the mayor and police chief in New Orleans saying, you’re not going to be armed,” Edwards added.
The state of Louisiana also passed their own law that specifically forbids law enforcement agencies of disarming law abiding citizens.
So, if you find yourself in the same situation as Patty Konie in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Edwards said there are a few things you should be mindful of:
“You cooperate, you get the names [of the officers], you get all the information that you can, you hire an attorney and you have that attorney contact the NRA Civil Rights Defense Fund,” he said.
Shockingly, some gun owners still have not been reunited with their firearms that were confiscated during Katrina roughly seven years ago, Edwards said.
“The last time I talked to the attorneys that were working with the NRA on the case, there were barrels of firearms that were rusting away in the New Orleans Police Department,” he added. “We had a city in Katrina that decided that law abiding gun owners should be defenseless.”
When deciding whether to travel with your gun during a state of emergency, consider where you will be going. If you are traveling to somewhere like a public shelter, you may not be able to have a firearm, said Edwards. As always, be smart and utilize caution when handling and traveling with your firearm.