When the you-know-what hits the fan, many law enforcement agencies quit enforcing the law and law-abiding Americans are left to fend for themselves more than ever before is no time to tinker with their constitutional right to keep and bear arms. But that’s exactly what one Florida mayor did earlier this week in response to rioting and looting in his city.
On Sunday, West Palm Beach, Florida, Mayor Keith James banned possession of guns in public places for anyone except law enforcement and military—including concealed carry permit holders. And he did so in the midst of widespread rioting and looting throughout the country, a time when law-abiding citizens are more likely than ever to need their firearms for defense of themselves and their families.
His emergency declaration also banned both private and commercial sale of guns and ammunition, another freedom protected by the Second Amendment.
James’ emergency declaration read: “Whereas, there is reason to believe that there exists a clear and present danger of a riot or other general public disorder, widespread disobedience of the law, and substantial injury to persons or to property; all of which constitutes an imminent threat to public peace or order and to the general welfare of the City of West Palm Beach, or parts thereof …
“Now, Therefore … pursuant to Section 870.044, Florida Statutes, the following acts shall be prohibited throughout the City during the State of Local Emergency: 1. The sale of, or offer to sell, with or without consideration, any ammunition or gun or other firearm of any size of description ;2. The intentional display by or in any store or shop of any ammunition or gun or other firearm of any size or description; 3. The intentional possession in a public place of a firearm by any person, except a duly authorized law enforcement official or person in military service acting in the official performance of her or his duty.”
In a statement following the declaration, James made it clear that he doesn’t understand that concealed carry permit holders aren’t the cause of America’s violent crime problem, they are part of the solution. Those with carry permits in Florida are among the most lawful of the law-abiding, having been vetted by the government to receive their permit.
“The public’s safety is my top priority, especially during this time of great unrest in cities nationwide,” James said. And while that might be true, disarming the lawful among us is never the way to ensure safety to the public.
As for criminals, since they don’t obey laws anyway, it’s unlikely any of them chose to follow James’ order and leave their guns at home. That’s how it always works with gun bans—and how it always will.
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.