Firearms and assault weapons during natural catastrophes by Miguel A. Faria, MD

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

In 2005, at the time of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans police used the excuse of enforcing compliance with the mandatory evacuation order to confiscate firearms. They went door-to-door seizing guns from the people who stayed behind hoping to ride out the storm. These were the same firearms that the citizens expected to have available to protect their lives and Woman defending property with firearm after Hurricane Andrew in 1992property in the aftermath of the disaster.

In fact history has repeatedly shown that firearms, including assault weapons, can be very useful and life-saving tools following natural disasters, such as Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992 (photo, left), and during times of civil unrest, as during the Rodney King L.A. riots of 1992.

In New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Mayor Ray Nagin’s police chief superintendent said that the only guns allowed would be “in the hands of law enforcement.” Moreover, Stacy Washington, a decorated Air Force veteran, writing for the NRA Americas’ 1st Freedom, pointed out: “Guns were confiscated with disastrous results: Utter lawlessness ensued, and the police were spread too thin to respond to all the mayhem. Before total gun removal was completed, the NRA stepped in, first gaining a preliminary injunction and then an order putting a stop to the ill-conceived plan. The sheriff had to return more than 1,000 firearms to their respective owners.”

Gun-grabbing mayor Nagin should have known that confiscation of firearms from persons, who have not committed a crime, is a violation of the Second Amendment — and under the dire circumstances of a natural catastrophe, an inexcusable and unforgivable misjudgment, as well as an affront to the people of New Orleans.

Gun confiscation at the time of the Katrina disaster — when they are most needed by citizens to protect their families and property—was such an outrage that several states and the federal government passed laws to prevent that egregious constitutional illegality from ever taking place again during natural disasters.

In 2006 Congress passed the Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act that became incorporated as an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2007. It was signed into law on October 4, 2006. This federal legislation prevents the government from confiscating legally owned firearms during times of major disasters or state of emergency. Following the example of the federal government, most state legislatures adopted similar versions of this law. US Virgin Islands gun confiscation

But be that as it may, on Sept 5, 2017, in preparation for contending with Hurricane Irma, the Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Kenneth Mapp (photo, right), contrary to U.S. law, ordered the National Guard to confiscate firearms and ammunition from the people of the islands. Confiscation was supposedly necessary so the authorities “could carry out their mission.”  Whatever that may be, we are left to wonder. Nevertheless, the Islands are ruled by federal law approved by Congress in 1954, “Revised Organic Act of the Virgin Islands” and subject to U.S laws. Fortunately, the government of the Islands’ plans for gun confiscation seem to have been put on hold after the NRA threatened to file a lawsuit.

Ms. Washington further wrote: “Time after time during natural disasters, reports of looting and increased armed criminal action have been reported. The primary reason for firearms purchases is to protect self and loved ones, and this is especially important at times when the police are overtaxed and crimes of opportunity are more likely to occur. Natural disasters offer criminals an opening too sweet to resist—and once an individual or group of marauders is at your door, it’s too late to ask the National Guard for your guns back.” Exactly!

In 1989 after Hurricane Hugo assailed the city of Charleston and surrounding coastal areas in South Carolina, Governor Carroll Campbell Jr. issued “shoot on sight” orders to the South Carolina National Guard. The authorities, in some cases assisted by armed citizens, deterred some of the thugs from looting. And likewise in 1992, during the catastrophic Hurricane Korean shopowners defending property during LA riotsAndrew that devastated Florida, looting was limited because citizens used high capacity magazine assault weapons — just as the Korean shopkeepers in Los Angeles did earlier that Spring of 1992 (photo, left), when they protected their property from the usual parasitic thugs roaming the land and capitalizing on the suffering of others.

Florida has led the way in how to handle some of these natural disasters. In 2015, in addition to the well-known concealed carry weapons (CCW) licensing, the state passed a separate law that permits all adults (but not felons), to carry concealed firearms during emergencies “for up to 48 hours after issuance of an evacuation order.”

Some states like Maine and Vermont have “Constitutional Carry” laws, which allow all law-abiding citizens to carry firearms without a permit —emergency or not. In such states, as well as in Florida with its expansive CCW license laws, citizens act as deterrent to crime during natural disasters and emergencies because criminals and the marauding thugs do not know who is armed — a potential victim could very well be an armed citizen and deadly to mess with!

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, M.D. is a retired clinical professor of neurosurgery and long time medical editor. He is the author of Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995); Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997); and Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002). His website is

This article also appeared in on September 22, 2017. The photographs came from a variety of sources and did not appear in the version.

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Firearms and assault weapons during natural catastrophes., September 24, 2017. Available from:

Copyright ©2017 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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Did you know?

"Even though France has far stricter gun restrictions than we do, that country saw more people die in mass shootings in 2015 than were killed in all the U.S. mass shootings during Obama's presidency."--- Erich Pratt, Exec. Director, GOA

President Donald Trump visited first responders who attended the Las Vegas shooting on Sunday, saying he was "in the company of heroes."

"America is truly a nation in mourning" following the worst shooting in modern US history, he said. The attack left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured.

"In the depths of horror, we will always find hope in the men and women who risk their lives for ours," Mr Trump said. Applauding the wounded officers he had visited earlier in hospital, he said: "When the worst of humanity strikes - and strike it did - the best of humanity responds."

"Words cannot describe the bravery that the whole world witnessed on Sunday night. Americans defied death and hatred with love and with courage," he said.

First Lady Melania Trump joined the president to meet some of the victims and emergency responders on Wednesday...--- BBC, Oct. 4, 2017

Chaos in the Caribbean!

Chaos & Looting of the Caribbean After Hurricane Irma, Residents Defenseless By John Farnam, September 25, 2017

Ft Collins, CO –-( Anarchy and lawlessness in the Caribbean:

Every Caribbean island impacted by Hurricane Irma has experienced complete breakdowns of law and order. Nearly all Islands affected (with the exception of Cuba), are former protectorates of France, the UK, or the Netherlands.

All three European countries insist civilian populations on the Islands, as well as at home, be completely disarmed. Only paranoid politicians (and imaginative/inventive criminals) have guns!

Now, anarchy has broken out. Full-time criminals (including jail escapees), along with “borderline criminals” (who have promptly reverted to type) are terrorizing everyone else, particularly foreign tourists, with armed robbery and physical attacks.

Predictably, all outwardly anti-gun politicians on the Islands are now sheepishly, hypocritically, desperately calling for immediate deployment of ARMED European soldiers to restore order.

Looting after Irma

A logical observer will immediately deduce that what leftists call “gun control,” (aka, total elimination of the private ownership of guns), whether tested by Mother Nature, or by Islamic terrorists, fails utterly, everywhere it has been tried.

It ever fails to protect citizens, because they are prohibited from protecting themselves. We’re currently witnessing yet another unfolding failure of “gun control,” this time in the Caribbean.Conversely, in the USA, we love guns!
We also love freedom and independence.

Armed Americans, also impacted by Hurricane Irma (and Harvey), are not being similarly terrorized by criminals, although there are plenty of criminals around, and they’re just as sleazy as Caribbean criminals, but here they’ re restrained by fear of getting shot!

John Farnam of Defense Training International, Inc.,
 is a defensive weapons and tactics instructor. Visit:

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Disasters, What to Do?

I am glad to know the 2006 Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act was passed. However, I must consider whether an elected official who discards the most fundamental and widely known 2nd Amendment, such a former mayor and current convict Ray Nagin, would even today follow this law or even search and seizure laws. I seriously doubt that Nagin's police had signed search warrants for the houses they invaded in their search for firearm confiscation. On what grounds?

I will never forget the 1992 race riots in L.A. and the terrible attack on the white truck driver, Reginald Denny, by the black gang resulting in 91 fractures and a permanent indention in Denny's skull. Before they could complete their murder, good Samaritans (also black) Bobbie Green and others managed to rescue him. Racism is a human condition; therefore, it affects all races. Good Samaritans come in all races too, and I applaud Bobbie and the others, just as I condemn the violent thugs.

Now imagine if you were Reginald Denny or one of the many people trying to survive the chaos there or in New Orleans, and a Mayor has his Police Chief trying to take your constitutionally protected weapons away while robbers, rapists, and murderers roam the city. We are always just one step away from chaos, whether from N Korean nuclear attack, power grid outage, storms, etc. As Ralph Ellison noted: "Step outside the narrow borders of what men call reality, and you step into chaos."

It should be noted that in 2014 Ray Nagin was convicted on 20 of 21 counts of bribery, wire fraud, tax evasion and other charges. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. I wonder if Nagin and his police chief were collaborating with certain gangs when they disarmed the lawful citizens. Regardless, the ends were the same.

No one of us knows for certain what we would do in such a situation when thugs seek to destroy us for our skin color, property, of their demented enjoyment. Even more difficult perhaps is the decision of what to do when a law enforcement officer acts clearly outside of the law to you or your family's detriment or demise, and there is no other legal recourse, as in a riot or natural disaster. In the end protection for self and family would likely win out.