Some supporters of a pro-gun bill that passed the House of Delegates Friday say they don’t want another Katrina to happen in West Virginia.
The bill, which was approved on a unanimous vote 97-0, would prohibit the seizing of firearms during a declared state of emergency.
The National Rifle Association filed a lawsuit in 2007 against New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley. The group alleged more than 1,000 firearms were taken from residents in the days after Hurricane Katrina two years earlier.
“If we can look back at what happened in New Orleans,” Del. Randy Smith, R-Preston, said Friday. “I don’t think we want that to happen here in West Virginia.”
The NRA says the guns seized after Katrina weren’t part of any criminal investigation. City officials said the guns had been stolen or found in abandoned homes.
Del. Josh Nelson, R-Boone, says the West Virginia bill backs up the Second Amendment. He says many state residents serve in the National Guard and sometimes aren’t home during states of emergency. He says this bill gives them additional comfort.
“You know they are going to be protected while you may not be there,” Nelson said.
The bill was introduced by House Speaker Rick Thompson. Several delegates praised Thompson before the vote Friday.