NRA and law-abiding gun owners won another major victory this week when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass HR 5013, the NRA-backed “Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act.” This legislation, sponsored by Representative Bobby Jindal (R-La.), will amend federal emergency laws to prohibit federal, state, and local authorities from confiscating lawfully-owned firearms during emergencies or disasters. HR 5013 passed by a broad bi-partisan margin of 322-99.
“Today was an important day for the people of Louisiana,” Jindal said. “Today the House of Representatives reaffirmed that in times of disaster you cannot throw out the Constitutional amendment that guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms….In the days following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita…confiscations and prohibitions, and the means by which they were carried out, deprived law-abiding citizens of Louisiana not only of their right to keep and bear arms, but also of their rights to personal security, personal liberty, and private property, all in violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States. My legislation will prevent this from happening during future disasters.” (To view additional lawmakers’ comments on the bill, please visit www.nraila.org/CurrentLegislation/Read.aspx?ID=2351.)
“Law-abiding gun owners scored a significant victory in the House of Representatives today,” said NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox. “The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina confirmed a fear long-held by American gun owners: the day government bureaucrats declare our Second Amendment null and void, leaving law-abiding citizens defenseless in the midst of chaos and lawlessness.”
This is the second NRA win on this issue in less than two weeks. On July 13, Senator David Vitter’s (R-La.) 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 a final vote of 84-16.
“No matter what the circumstances, lawful gun owners have the right to possess their firearms in their homes,” continued Cox. “And if forced to evacuate, they have the right to transport their firearms to a safe place. Nobody has the right to disarm them. That’s what this legislation ensures.”
“On behalf of our four million NRA members nationwide, I want to thank Representative Bobby Jindal for introducing this legislation and the House Republican leadership for seeing that the ‘Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act’ received a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives,” concluded Cox.
Additionally, late last week, at the Annual Meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in San Francisco, the ALEC Criminal Justice Task Force unanimously approved model legislation similar in concept to Representative Jindal's H.R. 5013. The model bill, entitled the "Emergency Powers Firearm Owners' Protection Act," prohibits the seizure of lawfully-possessed firearms during a state of emergency, limits the authority of state and local officials to impose additional restrictions on firearms during a state of emergency, sets criminal penalties for violations of the act, and allows for private causes of action by gun owners harmed by violations of the act. This Act will officially become ALEC Model Legislation in 30 days if there is no objection from the ALEC Board of Directors.