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U.S. Senate Votes to Protect Second Amendment Rights During Emergencies

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Fairfax, VA – Senator David Vitter’s amendment to prohibit the use of funds appropriated under the Homeland Security appropriations bill (H.R. 5441) for the confiscation of lawfully possessed firearms during an emergency or major disaster passed the United States Senate with broad bi-partisan support, the final vote margin was 84-16. In the House, Congressman Bobby Jindal of Louisiana introduced HR 5013, the “Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006,” an NRA-supported bill amending federal emergency statute laws to stop local authorities from confiscating lawfully owned firearms during times of disaster.

NRA Chief Lobbyist, Chris Cox, asserted, “After Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Police Superintendent issued orders to confiscate firearms from all citizens, allegedly under a state emergency powers law. With that one order, he stripped the one means of self-protection innocent citizens had during a time of widespread civil disorder. This legislation guarantees that will never happen again."

Various reports indicate that military and law enforcement agencies from the federal government and several states confiscated guns from law-abiding New Orleans residents. The Vitter Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds to seize firearms or restrict firearms possession, except in the circumstances allowed by current federal or state law. Convicted felons and other “prohibited persons” are not protected under this legislation and it does not effect law enforcement operations outside of disaster relief situations.

“In passing this legislation, the United States Senate acted to protect the self-defense rights of citizens when those rights are most vital. There was no 9-1-1 or police to rely on while looters and rapists and thugs ran rampant and honest citizens were left to their own devices to protect themselves, their families and their neighbors. I want to thank Senator Vitter for introducing this amendment and all the Senators who supported it.”

Emergency powers legislation prohibiting government officials from restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners during declared states of emergency has passed this year in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Alaska, Idaho, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma.

- nra

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the armed services.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.