A proposed city ordinance in Guntersville, Alabama would allow police officers to disarm citizens during times of crisis if they deem it necessary.
Part of a larger disaster response bill, Mayor Leigh Dollar is standing by the proposal and seemingly tried to downplay it to WAAY-TV.
“By no means is it our intent to disarm, or seize anyone’s firearms,” she assured with a smile and a southern drawl. “This is in there to protect public workers and any volunteers helping should someone become unruly, which can happen because emotions are high…”
“It’s only to protect people,” she added.
The bill will be evaluated at the next Guntersville City Council meeting on March 4, but Mayor Dollar notes that such laws are already on the books in other cities.
In particular, she says she wants to emulate Tuscaloosa. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans cops performed similar acts, in one case reportedly tackling, punching, and confiscating the firearm of a woman who said she wanted to stay at home with her dogs.
The Lakeside Post describes the exact phrasing of the Guntersville proposal: “As provided by Alabama State Code, any law enforcement officers acting in official duties may disarm and individual if deemed necessary. The officer must return the firearm to the individual before leaving or [arresting] the individual.”
In 2006 then-President George W. Bush supported measures to strengthen the rights of gun owners during times of emergency, but the bill died in the Senate. As such, it seems the issue still remains in the hands of local officials.
Though Mayor Dollar’s proposal isn’t the first of its kind, a number of Guntersville residents are still concerned by the somewhat loose description of what a person has to be doing to get their weapon confiscated (“unruly”), noting that cops already have authority over people exhibiting actual violence.
“It seems like an infringement on the 2nd Amendment, and that’s the biggest problem I have with it,” local music teacher Paul Landry said.
Keith Sullivan, another local resident, added: “The law’s already there. Somebody’s brandishing a weapon, you can arrest them right there.”