States of Emergency, quarantines, and disaster declarations can bring fear and panic for everyone, due to the uncertainty surrounding them. When state governments throughout the U.S. have varying policies regarding how your rights change, it can be confusing for anyone to fully understand their freedom during these times.
When it comes to your firearms, be assured that we will keep you up to date on any changes in the law that impact your rights.
As for general Coronavirus updates and local and national conditions, the news on these restrictions is coming fast and furious across the nation. Please follow state, local, and national news, as this information can change by the day and hour.
What exactly is a “State of Emergency”?
States of Emergency are declared during situations of civil unrest, disease, violence, or when natural disasters have occurred. Depending on your state, there can be different categories of these declarations – Disaster, Natural Disaster, Emergency, or Public Health Emergency.
The major takeaway for understanding a State of Emergency and its subcategories is that while they all generally cover the same thing, categorizing them helps specify the roles, funds, and agencies acting within that specific emergency and government.
Federal State of Emergency
A federal declaration of emergency generally doesn’t change state law, unless they conflict with the specific terms outlined in the federal declaration. Individual state authorities may enact their own State of Emergency declarations, and by doing so, they could impact their local laws.
Are my rights as a gun owner affected?
In 2006, Congress passed the Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act, which directly outlines a federal firearm policy for major disasters or emergencies. 42 U.S. Code § 5207 provides that if you are not a prohibited person, meaning you may lawfully own, transport, or possess firearms on any normal day, the federal government may not seize your firearms unless they are directly involved in a crime. This law is designed to protect your Second Amendment rights, even during States of Emergency.
Be aware, this only applies to federal agencies and federal law enforcement, not state and local authorities.
Since each state would need to specify how its own laws will or will not change in their own State of Emergency declaration, it’s important that you are familiar with your state’s unique terms.
Make sure to comply with your state laws, and remain calm, level-headed, and stay safe.
If you are unsure about your state’s current status, about how your rights are affected by the declaration of a State of Emergency, or have any other concerns or questions, call and ask to speak to your U.S. LawShield Independent Program Attorney.
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