Katrina-like confiscations in Greensburg, KS


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takurpic
March 7, 2008, 06:28 PM
This is a post copied from the Kansas Concealed Carry forum, KSCCW.com (http://www.ksccw.com). Patricia Stoneking is active in legislative matters. On Thursday, 3-6-08, she attended a hearing in Topeka on the Kansas Emergency Powers Act, House Bill 2811. This legislation will prevent gun confiscations like we saw in New Orleans, LA and Greensburg, KS.

Here is a portion her post, shared with her permission:

As far as Greensburg, here is the shocking truth. I will simply state the facts. First of all, understand that it is not lawful to carry out a mandatory evacuation unless martial law has been declared. Martial law was NOT declared and folks in the town were told they had to leave and some were forced to leave at gun point because they didn't want to leave. The tornado happened at 9:46pm and they were forced to leave within a couple hours of it, being given no time to collect themselves or assess the damages or even try to pick up anything such as guns and valuables to take with them. Ed Klummp, Police Chiefs Association, testified against the bill and said the evacuations were so they could search for bodies and shut off gas and power. This town was locked down tight for 4 days and no one was allowed in or out. The only people in that town those 4 days were Sheriffs Officers, Kansas Highway Patrol Officers, FEMA, National Guard, Police Officers from surrounding areas and some volunteers from Ft. Riley. They claim no one else was there or could have gotten in and out. Many guns and other valuables such as jewelry have gone permanently missing and have never been recovered. There were some houses that were not destroyed and were in tact at one end of town. Those folks did not want to leave but were forced to leave. When they returned they found their front doors kicked in and all of their guns and jewelry missing. Guns and ammo that were collected were taken to a trailer (18 wheeler size) and an ATF agent manned the trailer. When people first came to collect their guns they had to fill out a 4473 and get a nics approval before they could claim their guns. No one had paperwork, receipts, or lists of serial numbers because it had all blown away. Later into the process they quit demanding these items. Apparantly many guns were claimed by not the rightful owner. One man had 75 guns that did not belong to him, which he was busted for trying to sell. In one of the houses they busted into they found 5 full auto guns, C-4 explosive, grenades and a rocket launcher. This gentleman claimed to be ex military and kept them from that time. He was not charged as it was determined to be an illegal search and seizure. The people in Greensburg are a close tight knit community, everyone knows everyone kind of place. They were very resentful of government coming in and telling them what they had to do. They would have preferred to stay and help each other locate valuables and guns and not leave their property. In one case, in the collection trailer, a gun box was claimed by one man who had a very nice gun in it and when he opened the undamaged and closed box, not a mark on the box, he found an old rusted gun that was not his. Supposedly, 2 police officers from Wichita who were part of the task force during the 4 day evacuation were fired because they were found to have stolen guns and trying to sell them. The comment made to us was that none of the really nice guns were found. The main source of this information was a gentleman from Greensburg who is an FFL and has a gun shop outside of town and he is also a gunsmith. He sold a good portion of those guns to people in Greensburg and also has been working to repair many of their guns in the aftermath. When he went to claim his guns, from his home, not his shop as the shop was in tact and they did not break in the shop and take anything, he said the ATF agent basically told him to take anything he wanted. There was no collection list and guns were NOT cataloged for location of discovery or anything like that.

Now just a quicky of what my opinion is. The folks in that town had their constitutional rights violated from the get go. I am appalled at what happened there and can tell you I would never leave my property under those circumstances. I guess those over zealous government agents would have to shoot me which was a close case almost scenario in Greensburg but the citizens gave in. I would not give in. The people in that town who were already traumatized by the tornado were further traumatized by government officials. If there were no civilians and no looters then where are all the missing guns. Funny how all the missing guns are the nicest, most expensive guns. Also funny how there was no media coverage of any of this and it was kept very hush, hush but then we all know the media and what cxxp they espouse to.

As this bill moves through the process the entire population of KS needs to raise it's voice in the loudest manner to see to it the bill gets passed. Once it passes out of the House committee it will go to the Senate committee. People need to educate themselves on what their rights are in times of disaster. The folks in Greensburg thought they didn't have a choice about leaving because that's what they were told and that was a lie.

PEOPLE NEED TO GET INVOLVED!!! Yes, I just shouted that. I was shocked by the fact that only 3 people turned out to attend the hearing to support our side, other than those of us who testified. The NRA sent an alert out to its members in KS, I sent an alert out to my 2000 member database urging them to come in support and 3 people show up. There is power in numbers. When a hearing room is full of proponents, legislators take notice. Do I sound pissed? If you think I do then you'd be right. I had to take the time to write my testimony and then spend a day in Topeka. I had to work till 2:30am last night and will again tonight to catch up because I devoted my time to this issue. People give all kinds of excuses for not being actively involved and not coming to hearings to support the effort. It's a matter of setting priorities and my first priority is to the protection of my constitutional rights. I guess I just don't understand how that could not be first priority to everyone else. Mostly, I'm just mad at the system for violating our rights. I may not have been a victim in Greensburg but any disaster could happen where I live anytime without warning and now I sure know what to expect. Everyone in this entire country needs to get their heads out of the freaking sand!

I was terribly angered by what I found out yesterday and feel very bad for the people of Greensburg. It literally made me sick to hear all this and wish I had been told when it was happening. There had been a few rumors but the rumors were vague with no actual evidence or proof and were not first hand detailed accounts. The people of Greensburg will never be the same. Emergency Powers Legislation has been passed in 22 other states and is actively going through the process of being enacted in several other states. The NRA has made it a priority to see to it that it gets passed in all 50 states. We need to support the NRA in this effort.

If this doesn't give us all a wake up call, I don't know what will.

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bladecp
March 7, 2008, 07:15 PM
Not only illegal and unconstitutional, this is just plain outright theft.

kermit315
March 8, 2008, 08:10 PM
nothing like kicking out the residents and looting the town for 4 days before anybody can do anything about it. I say fire every single person involved in ordering "mandatory evacuations", sue them into nothingness, and get a law passed that will not only say "you cant do that", but impose stiff, mandatory penalties on those who try that crap.

MechAg94
March 8, 2008, 10:06 PM
If this has in fact happened, I would think the NRA or other gun rights group needs to get some legal action started to condemn the action and make sure property is returned. Not to mention damages. If they did it for Katrina, this would seem to be a slam dunk.

I would also think someone like the ACLU would be interested in the unlawful mandatory evacuation.

In Texas, I believe it came up around the Hurricane Rita stuff that while they can call it a mandatory evacuation, the law does not authorize actual forcible mandatory evacuations.

FTA84
March 8, 2008, 10:14 PM
Not to stoke the fire....

But, if people are blatently and knowingly violating the Constitution (the supreme law of the land) then how does enacting a state law do much of anything? Especially when a large number of offenders were federal agents.......

Robert Hairless
March 8, 2008, 10:43 PM
If this has in fact happened, I would think the NRA or other gun rights group needs to get some legal action started to condemn the action and make sure property is returned. Not to mention damages. If they did it for Katrina, this would seem to be a slam dunk.

MechAG94, are you an NRA member?

The reason why I ask is that of the approximately 80 million gun owners in the U.S. only about 4 million belong to the NRA. So 5% of the gun owners in this country are carrying the other 95%.

If you're not an NRA member I'm sure you have a great reason so there's no point in telling it to me.

But perhaps you might want to reconsider and join the NRA today so that you can lend a hand to those of us who are helping to fight against the kind of sleazy behavior that can hit any gun owner today.

Although it's possible that the ACLU might want to consider helping those gun owners, I don't think it will happen until pigs fly. I don't know if there are any plans to build airfields for flying pigs.

Since regular NRA membership cost only $35 a year, perhaps people who really don't like confiscations will join the NRA instead of just saying how awful they are and the NRA should do something.

Here's a link to join the NRA now: https://membership.nrahq.org/forms/signup.asp

Bad Voodoo
March 8, 2008, 11:45 PM
echAG94, are you an NRA member?

The reason why I ask is that of the approximately 80 million gun owners in the U.S. only about 4 million belong to the NRA. So 5% of the gun owners in this country are carrying the other 95%.

If you're not an NRA member I'm sure you have a great reason so there's no point in telling it to me.

But perhaps you might want to reconsider and join the NRA today so that you can lend a hand to those of us who are helping to fight against the kind of sleazy behavior that can hit any gun owner today.

Although it's possible that the ACLU might want to consider helping those gun owners, I don't think it will happen until pigs fly. I don't know if there are any plans to build airfields for flying pigs.

Since regular NRA membership cost only $35 a year, perhaps people who really don't like confiscations will join the NRA instead of just saying how awful they are and the NRA should do something.

Here's a link to join the NRA now: https://membership.nrahq.org/forms/signup.asp

+1,000,000

Nicely said. It's like politics. You haven't earned the right to complain if you haven't registered to vote. Exercise your rights. Get involved. Have a voice. Join the NRA.

WayneConrad
March 9, 2008, 12:25 AM
Direct link to the original post, please?

JeremySmith
March 9, 2008, 12:47 AM
The tornado was on May 4, 2007? Or am I missing something? Everything I could find said that 95% of the town was leveled, and the other 5% was severely damaged. Population of the town was about 1500? Just trying to get some facts straight

Dustinthewind
March 9, 2008, 12:07 PM
If this has in fact happened, I would think the NRA or other gun rights group needs to get some legal action started to condemn the action and make sure property is returned.

This did happen!

takurpic,

Thanks for posting this, I have been looking for follow up on this, but after the initial reports the gun seizures have been on the hush, hush. ATF confiscated the guns to save them from the looters, problem is the only people allowed into the town were Guardsman and LEO's, several of which were convicted of looting. What really incensed me was the fact that these people had to fill out a 4473 to get their property back! Unlike Katrina, FEMA showed up in force and began tossing money around like it was water. It is really amazing to see mechanization of Big Government at work.

takurpic
March 10, 2008, 05:09 AM
Wayne, here's a direct link to the original post...

http://www.ksccw.com/site/showthread.php?t=5687&page=3


Jeremy, the tornado hit on May 4, 2007

The Greensburg tornado was on the ground for 22 miles non-stop and 30 minutes. Maximum winds were estimated at 205 mph. This is the first fatal storm in southwest Kansas since 1967.

That night I was monitoring the emergency band radio (I'm volunteer fire) when dispatch got on and directed the rescue crew with FLIR to go to Greensburg. No explanation, just go.

http://media.kansas.com/static/slides/050507tornadoaerials/images/_MG_0319.jpg

I drive through Greensburg often on the way to Wichita. I was through the day after they opened the town to through traffic. One of the spookiest things I've ever seen was pulling up to the intersection of HWY 400 and Main Street at 1AM and the only light in town was the temporary light at this intersection.

Another disturbing thing was the check point on the west side of Pratt checking vehicles for legitimate purposes to head on through to Greensburg. During the 'limited/no access' time, I drove 40 miles out of the way to-and-from Wichita because of the close down.

I know people that were first responders, but this story from Patricia was the first I heard anything about gun confiscations.

Coronach
March 10, 2008, 09:08 AM
Has anyone fact-checked any of the claims made in this article? For instance, if two Witchita cops were fired for having confiscated guns, that should be very easy to verify.

Mike

Titan6
March 10, 2008, 09:12 AM
I don't know if "looting" is considered the same as "confiscation". And is it confiscation if the government gives the guns back? The fact that some of the looters were agents of the government would make the government at least partially liable, but that is just my personal op.

Would the situation be any different if there were bars of gold laying around instead of gold? Do you think the government would just allow bars of gold to lay around on the streets? This situation is not so very different. You have small valuable property that is easily convertible to cash.

No, I think the big sticking point here is that the people were illegally denied access to their homes and property, allowing criminals (who were also agents of the government) free and easy access to their homes. A system that was stupid and corrupt was put into place to fix the problem and the obvious happened.

Check your disaster plans people.

What does your town/ county/ city/ parish/ state do and what are you willing to do if X happens? Don't assume it won't happen where you are because it will happen there sooner or later. Talk to your city government (who many people could not pick out of a line up). Talk to your county supervisors. Tell them you are not going anywhere against the law and against your will. Tell them the kind of help you expect to see and the kind of help you want to have when X happens. Because if you don't they will use whatever plan they have for you, or more likely... no plan at all.

Has anyone fact-checked any of the claims made in this article? For instance, if two Witchita cops were fired for having confiscated guns, that should be very easy to verify.

Some of it is true, some I am seeing for the first time. but I think My post addresses the whole issue. But I see your point.

WayneConrad
March 10, 2008, 11:30 AM
takurpic, Thanks.

Some follow-on links posted in the original thread (people there are anxious for fact-checking, too):

nra-ila (http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Read.aspx?id=2994):
After investigating these complaints, there was no evidence of any illegal gun confiscations or seizures. However, there were firearms recovered by law enforcement that are now in the process of being returned.
and Guns and Anarchy in Greensburgh (http://www.lawrencian.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=448&Itemid=45) (www.lawrencian.com).

jwxspoon
March 10, 2008, 11:34 AM
In Chris Bird's book, Thank God I Had a Gun, the author relates interviews with NOPD officers that admitted they kept the 'good guns' and 'threw the rest into the canal'.

jw

Dustinthewind
March 10, 2008, 10:26 PM
If memory serves, one of the LEO's was a deputy sheriff from a neighboring county. The two National Guards and 1 or 2 Leo's involved were off duty and in uniform at the time. They were caught stealing beer and cigarettes and other sundries as reported on local news channels and local papers. Civilian looting was also a problem. As far as firearms, all that I have heard about were the seizures by ATF. They do or did have a large shipping container filled with firearms, this I have seen personally. As stated before the owners of these guns have to pass a background check to get their firearms returned to them. This may be legal, but it doesn't seem right and I would imagine providing proof of ownership will be nearly impossible.

Eightball
March 10, 2008, 11:18 PM
Could someone possibly PM me the prerequisites and legalities of a "mandatory evacuation" in MI and KY? If a "mandatory" evacuation isn't really mandatory, and they cannot use force to get me to leave, I would like to know so that this kind of crap doesn't happen in my household.

But man, if this isn't a good reason to get a good gunsafe, nothing is.

And though this might arouse some foul feelings; if an officer is pointing a firearm at you and exceeding their authority for something such as forcing you to escape....what can we do in return? I presume "returning the favor" is an instant arrest, presenting legal documents wouldn't do much, and.....I dunno.

rocinante
March 11, 2008, 10:12 PM
That woman can talk! I would loved to have heard her speech. Not too often you get straight talk with genuine righteous anger any more.

I thought the congress passed a law against gun seizures like that after Katrina. Or was that just another of their paper tigers?

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