Verify: Can police take Texas citizens' guns during a state of emergency?

Can police confiscate guns in Texas during a state of emergency? WUSA9 tracked down a bill that clears up what exactly is lawful.

QUESTION:

Can police confiscate guns in Texas during a state of emergency?

ANSWER:

No, we can verify this is false.

SOURCES:

Texas Senate Research Center, Government Code State of Emergency, Texas Legislature Online

PROCESS:

Looting tends to be a concern after catastrophic events. Following the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a sign was seen on a home in Portland, Tex. that stated, “You loot, I shoot.”

WUSA9 tracked down a bill signed in a 2006 committee that specifically stops police from being able to take firearms away from lawful owners during a natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey.

The bill states that after Hurricane Katrina, guns were confiscated in Louisiana when police resources were “stretched thin.”

Bill S.B. 112 was intended to protect the right to bear arms during a catastrophe.

WUSA9 researchers spoke with Eddie Compass, who was the New Orleans chief of police during Hurricane Katrina.

“I never suspended the citizens’ rights to bear arms. I couldn’t check people’s documentation; all our computers were down. If they had the documentation to be in legal possession of the gun we didn’t take it,” Compass said.

After being asked to resign by the New Orleans mayor weeks after Katrina, Compass became a chief of security for the Recovery School District in New Orleans.

Whether law enforcement can confiscate guns during a state of emergency varies per state. According to the Executive Branch Government Code under the State of Emergency section: During a state of emergency, each law enforcement agency in the state shall cooperate in the manner the governor or the governor's designated representative requests and shall allow the use of the agency's equipment and facilities as the governor or the governor's designated representative requires, except that if the agency is not located within the affected area, the use may not substantially interfere with the normal duties of the agency.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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