May 18, 2006

Gun group wants guards against weapons seizures

By John Rondy

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (Reuters) - The National Rifle
Association launched a drive on Thursday to prevent police from
confiscating legally owned guns during disasters ranging from
hurricanes to a potential bird flu pandemic.

"The truth is there is no scenario in which lawful gun
owners should agree that government can come into their homes
and disarm them," Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of
the group, told a news conference on the eve of its annual

The group aired a video in which several New Orleans
residents said their guns were taken by police in the turmoil
after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city August 29.

LaPierre said the group would ask every mayor and police
chief in the country to sign a pledge saying they will never
forcibly disarm law-abiding citizens in their jurisdictions.

In addition, the group said it would seek state and federal
legislation to make it a crime to take guns away from such
citizens, with a penalty of immediate arrest and "hard prison

Signing a pledge to not disarm citizens should be easy,
LaPierre said, because mayors and police chiefs "have already
sworn to support the U.S. Constitution in their oaths of

The Constitution's second amendment states that "the right
of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

Chris Cox, of the group's Institute for Legislative Action,
said legislation is needed because "Katrina blew a hole in the
Constitution that'll hemorrhage until we stop it."

LaPierre said the changes are needed because "every day
we're reminded that we face fearsome disasters. We're told that
terrorist attack is inevitable. We're advised to store food and
water. We're told to be prepared for bird flu pandemics, gas
shortages, hurricanes, earthquakes and other tragedies ..."

"If you are packing 30 days worth of food and water, the
people who don't have food and water will come for yours, and
the robbers and the looters, and the bad people will come for
you also, and you better be able to protect yourself," he