WILMINGTON, NC & SACRAMENTO, CA (September 11, 2018) — Today, Firearms Policy Coalition and Firearms Policy Foundation announced a pre-litigation demand letter sent today to the Town of Leland, North Carolina, regarding the municipality’s order banning some lawful and constitutionally protected firearm-related conduct in advance of Hurricane Florence. Yesterday, the Town issued an order stating that, “Effective at 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12, 2018, the transportation or possession, or the sale or purchase of any dangerous weapon or substance, while off one’s own premises, is prohibited.”
CNN reported today that Jeff Byard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency associate administrator, said Tuesday morning that “it is going to be ... a long-term recovery. This is not going to be a storm that we recover from in days.” The “monster” hurricane is expected to make landfall in North Carolina this week, and some are expecting “massive damage.”
“As our demand letter explains, disasters and potential disasters are prima facia reasons to protect the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for all lawful purposes, including self-defense and hunting,” said FPC President and FPF Chairman Brandon Combs. “They are not political opportunities to restrict these crucial constitutional rights.”
The civil rights groups say that the order is unconstitutional. In addition to expressing concerns about the order’s impact on Second Amendment rights, the demand letter characterized the Town’s order as “unconstitutionally vague,” saying that it “sets the stage for arbitrary or discriminatory enforcement since those enforcing the prohibition could apply various and conflicting interpretations.”
“The Town’s prohibition could well increase vulnerability to damage, injury, or loss of life or property, by chilling the otherwise lawful use and possession of firearms and ammunition in the protection of oneself or one’s property during these times – rights expressly preserved under the state law in the event of such states of emergency,” the demand letter argues.
“Leland’s State of Emergency Notice should immediately be amended to strike the offending language creating this unlawful and unconstitutional weapons prohibition. Should the Town fail to do so, and/or attempt to enforce the same against any resident, it stands exposed to civil actions for declaratory and injunctive relief, and monetary damages,” said attorney Raymond DiGuiseppe on behalf of the groups.
If any person is subjected to the Town of Leland’s order, they can submit a report to the FPF/FPC Legal Action Hotline at www.firearmspolicy.org/hotline or by calling (855) 252-4510. They can also contact FPC and FPF’s Wilmington, North Carolina-based counsel, The DiGuiseppe Law Firm, P.C., by phone at (910) 713-8804.
Firearms Policy Foundation (www.firearmsfoundation.org) is a 501(c)3 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPF’s mission is to defend the Constitution of the United States and the People’s rights, privileges and immunities deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition, especially the inalienable, fundamental, and individual right to keep and bear arms.
Firearms Policy Coalition (www.firearmspolicy.org) is a 501(c)4 grassroots nonprofit organization. FPC’s mission is to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, especially the fundamental, individual Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.