As Hurricane Florence bears down on the east coast, many cities are effectively shut down and evacuating. But before Florence made landfall, another storm was brewing.
The coastal town of Leland, NC, issued a series of emergency orders earlier this week which banned “transportation or possession” of any weapon while off one's own premises. This effectively suspended the rights of all state citizens to carry a gun or knife on their person for the duration of Hurricane Florence.
Backlash was swift.
The next day, a law firm retained by the Firearms Policy Coalition sent a scathing demand letter
to the Leland mayor and city council, urging them to avoid legal action by dropping the weapon ban. It cited numerous problems with the order, not the least of which was that it had no right to exist:
This “State of Emergency Notice” cites “N.C.G.S. Section 166” as the authority for the prohibitory declaration. However, “Section” 166 does not exist and never did. Chapter 166 did at exist one time, but that was repealed in 1977.
Furthermore, the Chapter of legal code that the town attempted to cite specifically notes that the power to restrict possession and sale of weapons in emergencies "does not authorize prohibitions or restrictions on lawfully possessed firearms or ammunition." The North Carolina Supreme Court had already heard a similar case in 2012, and ruled that possession of legal guns could not be restricted in times of emergency.
After the legal threats and considerable social media pushback, Leland has rescinded the order, just before Florence hits the coast.