Governor of US Virgin Islands Feeling the Heat after Firearms Seizure

By Andrew Zirkle | USA

Last week, while Hurricane Irma began to bear down on the islands of the Caribbean, much of the territorial leadership was poised to evacuate citizens and bring in emergency aid. However, Gov. Kenneth Mapp was preparing the US Virgin Islands in a different way.

On September 5th, an executive order written up and signed by Governor Mapp authorized the Adjutant General of the USVI as well as the national guard to seize firearms, ammunition, explosives and other weapons from citizens during deployment in the aftermath of the hurricane. After receiving harsh criticism from second amendment and gun rights activists, Mapp attempted to explain his decision in an interview with Tucker Carlson. He insisted that the order only allowed national guard forces to purchase firearms, despite the use of the sentence “the Adjutant General authorized and directed to seize arms, ammunition, explosives, incendiary material and any other property that may be required.”

Although the order never explicitly state “citizens” or “civilians,” it is unclear how the terms of this order could apply to anyone other than the private owners of the specified items. The White House has made a statement about a call that occurred between Governor Mapp and President Trump on September 6th, but the controversy surrounding this order was not said to have been discussed, presumably because of the massive urgency of hurricane related matters.

Despite this order being mostly covered up by hurricane related news, the NRA has already come out in opposition, with spokesman Dana Loesch stating “This is a time when people most need to be able to protect themselves, from looters, from other violence.” When similar emergency policies were put into place during hurricane Katrina, the NRA sued the state government for violation of second amendment rights. However, it is too soon to be seen whether litigation is a result of this controversial order.