However, another interesting bill HB339 sponsored by Rep. Marc Keahey (D - Dist. 65) came up for debate.
The debate centered around the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina where law abiding citizen's who owned guns legally were disarmed by government. The criminals running around robbing people and looting were not disarmed because, well because they are criminals and, since they did not have the guns legally they damn sure weren't going to run over to the police station and turn them in.
Rep. Keahey's bill says the following;
Under existing law, the Governor and local political subdivisions are granted additional emergency powers during states of emergency.
This bill would specify that these powers do not authorize the seizure or confiscation of firearms or ammunition from persons lawfully authorized to possess them and would specify certain conditions when a law enforcement officer may disarm an individual.
In my opinion, that's a damn good bill. It says that in the event of a state of emergency the government cannot disarm me if I own my guns legally. It says that I have the right to protect my family without having to wait on police to get there. And that is how things ought to be.
After listening to Rep. Yusaf Salaam ramble on incoherently about whether or not the Constitution means what it says, about whether or not the governor/mayor/police should ever have the right to take firearms from a law abiding citizen, and other such outrageous stuff I kept thinking, "If I were having to stand there and listen to that crap I might lose all appearances of respect for some of my fellow legislators." My Irish temper would surely get the best of me.
Rep. Salaam kept asking Rep. Keahey if he could not think of one situation where the governor/mayor/police ought to have those powers. I can't and Rep. Keahey couldn't...yet Salaam was never asked to provide us with his own example of a situation where the aforementioned should have the right to disarm law abiding citizens. I thought he should have had to offer up a scenario, since he was so in favor of the government being allowed to take folks guns away. Had I been standing there I would have asked him for one.
In my opinion, the Constitution means exactly what it says. Period! Also, in my opinion, there is never any reason for the governor/police/mayor to take my firearm, as long as I own my gun legally and am not threatening anyone that doesn't need threatening (read = that isn't threatening me). What possible grounds could they have to take it?
At one point Rep. Mike Ball introduced an amendment that left the choice to take away a weapon from someone who is NOT under arrest to the 'discretion of the police.' As if the 'police' supercede the Second Amendment (Y'all better sharpen the pitchforks). Originally that amendment passed until the Speaker Pro Tem pointed out that leaving it up to police discretion completely castrated the bill (bless'im). They took a re-vote and it came out on the right side. 'WHEW!'
Then Rep. Ball brought up domestic situations, which was completely irrelevant because this bill only dealt with times of extreme emergency. Apparently, Rep. Ball thinks cops ought to be able to take people's guns and keep them even if no arrest has been made and no laws have been broken. I find that not only scary and unconstitutional but down right offensive. He thinks it should be ok for cops to take people's guns for hypothetical crimes they might commit with them. That is unacceptable. Under that kind of mindset everyone's guns could be taken because they may at some point in the future commit a crime using said gun. Minority Report anyone?
What protections are in place that arms will be returned to citizens once we give them up? I don't know bout' y'all, but I don't trust any government official any further than I could throw them. Once disarmed then the government has ALL THE POWER and ALL THE GUNS! Guess what happens next? You no longer have the power to negotiate and Democracy becomes Tyranny by a government that no longer has any reason at all to fear you.
I was very happy to hear many Black legislators rise in support of the original bill. One (I don't remember which one) said, "This bill means that in the event of an emergency I still retain the right to protect my property and family...that I don't have to wait on a police force that is probably stretched very thin to come to my rescue." Another mentioned that it wasn't all that long ago that Black citizens were prevented from owning firearms and that he wasn't about to give his up to the government.
However, the things I heard from folks like Rep. Yusaf Salaam and Rep. Mike Ball made me question whether or not I have the temperament to ever be a legislator. I think my bullshit tolerance is probably a tad low. I don't particularly want to raise it as I think a very low bullshit tolerance helps to keep it real....so I'll have to come up with some other solution to this problem.
The bill was finally carried over to next Tuesday because people like Ball and Salaam kept adding amendments that repeatedly got voted down. Filabustering...in other words....which coulda lasted all night.
I hope that Rep. Keahey stands strong and that this bill passes in its original form. We don't need any law that says "Only the government has the legal right to protect you." Considering what befell the citizens of New Orleans when they waited on government help after Katrina I find it downright absurd that any reasonable person would ask us to 'trust the government' for our protection.