Can the Federal Government Legally Seize Firearms During an Emergency Like Hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma?

During the recent disaster wrought by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and the impending landfall in Florida of Hurricane Irma, many of our members have been asking if the government can confiscate their firearms if the Governor or Federal Government declare a state of emergency.

Following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the New Orleans police went door to door seeking people who rode out the storm in their homes to force them to comply with the forced evacuation ordered by the government. As part of the effort, the officers were also confiscating firearms.

This created an outrage among the law-abiding gun owners of the country and resulted in the passage of state and federal laws to prevent such confiscations from occurring in the future.

In 2006, Congress passed the DISASTER RECOVERY PERSONAL PROTECTION ACT OF 2006. The law was intended to prevent the government from seizing legally owned firearms during the time of a disaster. It was incorporated as an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act 2007 and signed into law on October 4, 2006.

CAN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONFISCATE MY FIREARMS?

This law amended 42 U.S.C 5201 Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to add the following provision:

SEC. 706. FIREARMS POLICIES.

(a) PROHIBITION ON CONFISCATION OF FIREARMS- No officer or employee of the United States (including any member of the uniformed services), or person operating pursuant to or under color of Federal law, or receiving Federal funds, or under control of any Federal official, or providing services to such an officer, employee, or other person, while acting in support of relief from a major disaster or emergency, may–

(1) temporarily or permanently seize, or authorize seizure of, any firearm the possession of which is not prohibited under Federal, State, or local law, other than for forfeiture in compliance with Federal law or as evidence in a criminal investigation;

(2) require registration of any firearm for which registration is not required by Federal, State, or local law;

(3) prohibit possession of any firearm, or promulgate any rule, regulation, or order prohibiting possession of any firearm, in any place or by any person where such possession is not otherwise prohibited by Federal, State, or local law; or

(4) prohibit the carrying of firearms by any person otherwise authorized to carry firearms under Federal, State, or local law, solely because such person is operating under the direction, control, or supervision of a Federal agency in support of relief from the major disaster or emergency.

(b) LIMITATION- Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any person in subsection (a) from requiring the temporary surrender of a firearm as a condition for entry into any mode of transportation used for rescue or evacuation during a major disaster or emergency, provided that such temporarily surrendered firearm is returned at the completion of such rescue or evacuation.

Following the lead of the federal government, most state legislatures adopted their own version of this law. Oklahoma law 21 O.S. section 1321.4 Riot Control Act Amended in 2012 to make it illegal for lawfully possessed firearms and ammunition to be taken by the State of Oklahoma.

The State of Oklahoma Cannot Seize your Firearms or Ammunition During a Riot or Emergency

Oklahoma Statutes Citationized
Title 21. Crimes and Punishments
Chapter 55 – Other Crimes Against Public Peace
Oklahoma Riot Control and Prevention Act
Section 1321.4 – Acts Which May be Proclaimed Prohibited
Cite as: O.S. §, __ __


In 2012, Governor Fallin signed an amendment to the Oklahoma Riot Control and Prevention Act that prohibits the State of Oklahoma from seizing legally owned firearms and ammunition during staes of emergency.

A. The Governor during the existence of a state of emergency, by proclamation, may, in the area described by the proclamation, which proclamation shall not cover any part or portion of the state not affected by public disorder, disaster, or riot at the time the proclamation is issued, prohibit:

1. Any person being on the public streets, or in the public parks or at any other public place during the hours declared by the Governor to be a period of curfew;

2. A designated number of persons, as designated by the Governor, from assembling or gathering on the public streets, parks, or other open areas of this state, either public or private;

3. The manufacture, transfer, use, possession or transportation of a molotov cocktail or any other device, instrument or object designed to explode or produce uncontained combustion;

4. The transporting, possessing or using of gasoline, kerosene, or combustible, flammable, or explosive liquids or materials in a glass or uncapped container of any kind except in connection with the normal operation of motor vehicles, normal home use or legitimate commercial use;

5. The sale, purchase or dispensing of alcoholic beverages;

6. The sale, purchase or dispensing of other commodities or goods, as the Governor reasonably believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace;

7. The use of certain streets, highways or public ways by the public; and

8. Such other activities as the Governor reasonably believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace.

B. Notwithstanding this section or any other law of this state, neither the Governor nor any official of a municipal or state entity shall prohibit or suspend the sale, ownership, possession, transportation, carrying, transfer and storage of firearms, ammunition and ammunition accessories during a declared state of emergency, that are otherwise legal under state law.

C. In imposing the restrictions provided for by the Oklahoma Riot Control and Prevention Act, the Governor may impose them for such times, upon such conditions, with such exceptions and in such areas of this state the Governor from time to time deems necessary.

D. Any individual aggrieved by a violation of subsection B of this section may seek relief in an action at law or in equity for redress against any person who subjects such individual or causes such individual to be subjected to an action prohibited by subsection B of this section. In addition to any other remedy at law or in equity, an individual aggrieved by the seizure or confiscation of a firearm or ammunition in violation of subsection B of this section may bring an action for the return of such firearm or ammunition in the district court of the county in which that individual resides or in which such firearm or ammunition is located. In any action or proceeding to enforce the provisions of this section, the court shall award the prevailing plaintiff costs and reasonable attorney fees.

Historical Data


Laws 1968, SB 753, c. 125, § 4, emerg. eff. April 4, 1968; Amended by Laws 2006, HB 2696, c. 70, § 1, emerg. eff. April 20, 2006 (superseded document available); Amended by Laws 2012, SB 1760, c. 271, § 1, eff. November 1, 2012 (superseded document available).

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Dove, Early Duck and Goose Season September 2017 Oklahoma

Migratory Bird Hunting: September Means Doves, Ducks, and Shotguns in Oklahoma

The first week of September might seem too early for fall hunting, but seasons for doves, ducks, and geese all start up this month! One advantage of these early hunts is that the birds are “uneducated” and unwary and can really zoom into your set ups and respond to your calls. Optimism is running high for this year’s dove hunting season, which will arrive on its traditional opening day of September 1st. And the fast-flying action will continue Sept. 2-3 as Oklahoma offers Free Hunting Days for state residents.

Josh Richardson, migratory bird biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, said he’s heard some encouraging news from the field. Observers have reported seeing sizable flocks of mourning doves. “This time of year, we start seeing birds really beginning to group up.”

Still, while there might be plenty of doves around, they could be harder to hunt if cooler weather remains in place.

But do you know the ins and outs of migratory-bird hunting regulations? They can get confusing: Migratory-bird hunting is regulated by numerous state and federal game laws, and those laws can vary considerably from state to state. That means even the most conscientious waterfowl and dove hunters can find themselves paying fines instead of enjoying the hunt.   

Brush up on what you need to know before you head afield this month for some bird hunting.

Duck, Duck, Goose

Migratory-bird hunting seasons, bag limits, and hunting methods are state-specific, so check with your state’s game agency beforehand. The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies has provided an easy-to-reference list of agencies and links, which can be found here. The Wildlife Conservation Dept. also publishes a list of specific dates and bag limits for Oklahoma. 

Early September is the traditional opener for that speedy little duck, the teal. The Oklahoma teal season runs September 9-24 statewide, with bag and possession limits being 6 teal daily, 12 in possession after the first day, 18 in possession after the second day. Cinnamon, blue-wing, and green-wing teal are all legal game.

The Early Canada goose season also opens this month. The Special September Resident Canada Goose Season runs September 9-18, statewide. The bag and possession limits are 8 daily, 16 in possession after the first day, 24 in possession after the second day.

Doves and Zones

Seasons for mourning and white-winged doves start now, too. Mourning, White-winged and Eurasian Collared season dates apply statewide and run September 1 to October 31. Bag and possession limits are 15 daily, 30 in possession after first day combined, 45 in possession after the second day combined. The limit may consist of any combination (aggregate) of mourning doves, white-winged, and fully dressed (those without a head or fully feathered wing naturally attached to the carcass) Eurasian collared doves. However, there is no bag limit on Eurasian collared doves if the head or one fully feathered wing remains naturally attached to the carcass of all such birds while being transported to their final destination.

The best hunting occurs in the mornings and late afternoons when the birds come to watering holes and agricultural fields in search of food and a chance to wet their beaks.

Know the Law for Migratory Bird Hunting

The most common migratory-bird hunting violations concern baiting. Simply put, you can’t hunt ducks, geese, or doves over bait. But what constitutes bait?

It’s not that easy to define. Consider this from “Waterfowl Hunting and Baiting,” published online by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of Law Enforcement here.

“Hunting waterfowl over a crop that has not been harvested but that has been manipulated (rolled/disked) is considered baiting under current regulations. The presence of seed or grain in an agricultural area rules out waterfowl hunting unless the seed or grain is scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, normal agricultural harvesting, normal agricultural post-harvest manipulation, or normal soil stabilization practice.”

In an interview, Josh Richardson, bird biologist, commented that Wildlife Department technicians and biologists at many Wildlife Management Areas have been working for several months planting and preparing fields to entice more doves to their public hunting areas. But unusual rainy weather during early August might curtail doves’ use of those ag fields.

“The wet weather causes the grain to spoil, if left in the head, or sprout if exposed and on the ground. This of course reduces the available food, and thereby the attractiveness, of a field for the birds.

“There will still be some food around, and there will be birds that use it, but it won’t be premium like it could be if we had our standard 95- to 100-degree dry days.”

As we can see, Wildlife Department technicians plant food plots to attract migratory birds in Oklahoma for the purpose of helping hunters bag their limits. This may be normal for the Wildlife technician, Okay, but what is “normal for the everyday hunter?” Every year, what seems “normal” to duck and dove hunters near ag fields might not be “normal” to the game wardens who might cite them for illegal baiting! Best advice: chat with local game wardens for their take on baiting.

The other most common violation is not having a plug in your pump or semi-automatic shotgun that limits only two shells in the magazine. Frequently, hunters get dinged on this because they removed the plugs for upland game hunting and just forgot to replace them before the migratory opener.

Legal Help for Hunters and Anglers

Members of U.S. LawShield’s HunterShield program have access to attorneys for the answers they need concerning not only year-round game, but hunting and fishing laws in general. In addition, members receive discounted entry to Sportsman Law Seminars. These seminars include access to former game wardens and attorneys who are also seasoned hunters. Add HunterShield to your existing membership for only $2.95 per month.

Not a member of U.S. LawShield? Join today to expand your education as a hunting sportsman or woman and ensure your hunting and fishing questions are answered by trustworthy sources who know the law. —Brian McCombie, Contributor, U.S. & Texas LawShield® Blog

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The State of Oklahoma Cannot Seize your Firearms or Ammunition During a Riot or Emergency

Oklahoma Statutes Citationized
  Title 21. Crimes and Punishments
    Chapter 55 – Other Crimes Against Public Peace
Oklahoma Riot Control and Prevention Act
Section 1321.4 – Acts Which May be Proclaimed Prohibited
Cite as: O.S. §, __ __


In 2012, Governor Fallin signed an amendment to the Oklahoma Riot Control and Prevention Act that prohibits the State of Oklahoma from seizing legally owned firearms and ammunition during staes of emergency.

A. The Governor during the existence of a state of emergency, by proclamation, may, in the area described by the proclamation, which proclamation shall not cover any part or portion of the state not affected by public disorder, disaster, or riot at the time the proclamation is issued, prohibit:

1. Any person being on the public streets, or in the public parks or at any other public place during the hours declared by the Governor to be a period of curfew;

2. A designated number of persons, as designated by the Governor, from assembling or gathering on the public streets, parks, or other open areas of this state, either public or private;

3. The manufacture, transfer, use, possession or transportation of a molotov cocktail or any other device, instrument or object designed to explode or produce uncontained combustion;

4. The transporting, possessing or using of gasoline, kerosene, or combustible, flammable, or explosive liquids or materials in a glass or uncapped container of any kind except in connection with the normal operation of motor vehicles, normal home use or legitimate commercial use;

5. The sale, purchase or dispensing of alcoholic beverages;

6. The sale, purchase or dispensing of other commodities or goods, as the Governor reasonably believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace;

7. The use of certain streets, highways or public ways by the public; and

8. Such other activities as the Governor reasonably believes should be prohibited to help preserve and maintain life, health, property or the public peace.

B. Notwithstanding this section or any other law of this state, neither the Governor nor any official of a municipal or state entity shall prohibit or suspend the sale, ownership, possession, transportation, carrying, transfer and storage of firearms, ammunition and ammunition accessories during a declared state of emergency, that are otherwise legal under state law.

C. In imposing the restrictions provided for by the Oklahoma Riot Control and Prevention Act, the Governor may impose them for such times, upon such conditions, with such exceptions and in such areas of this state the Governor from time to time deems necessary.

D. Any individual aggrieved by a violation of subsection B of this section may seek relief in an action at law or in equity for redress against any person who subjects such individual or causes such individual to be subjected to an action prohibited by subsection B of this section. In addition to any other remedy at law or in equity, an individual aggrieved by the seizure or confiscation of a firearm or ammunition in violation of subsection B of this section may bring an action for the return of such firearm or ammunition in the district court of the county in which that individual resides or in which such firearm or ammunition is located. In any action or proceeding to enforce the provisions of this section, the court shall award the prevailing plaintiff costs and reasonable attorney fees.

Historical Data


Laws 1968, SB 753, c. 125, § 4, emerg. eff. April 4, 1968; Amended by Laws 2006, HB 2696, c. 70, § 1, emerg. eff. April 20, 2006 (superseded document available); Amended by Laws 2012, SB 1760, c. 271, § 1, eff. November 1, 2012 (superseded document available).

 

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You Don’t Have to Wait to Use Deadly Force

You don’t have to wait to use deadly force to defend yourself when confronted by a deadly force situation. The standard is a reasonable person standard. Thus, if you are about to be greviously injured or killed you may respond with deadly force to protect yourself or others. See my video below.

http://blog.uslawshield.com/dinner-turns-deadly-part-2-oklahoma/

 

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You Don’t Have to Wait Before Using Deadly Force If Reasonably Threatened with Death

In Oklahoma, the standard for using deadly force is the reasonable person standard: See my video

http://blog.uslawshield.com/dinner-turns-deadly-part-2-oklahoma/

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Municipalities in Oklahoma are Controlled by State Preemption of Gun and Knife Laws

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Carrying Your Gun in a Gun Free School Zone November 2016

There are overlapping, Federal and State Laws regulating the carrying of guns in school zones.

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