Residents of King, North Carolina were stunned earlier this month when a record snowstorm hit the southern state. But they were doubly stunned when local officials declared a snow emergency, and people lost some of their gun rights.
According to North Carolina statute 14-288.7, when a municipality declares a state of emergency in which "public safety authorities are unable to … afford adequate protection for lives or property, it is unlawful for any person to transport or possess off his own premises any dangerous weapon."
A report in WorldNetDaily.com says North Carolina is not the only state with such rules on the books.
Pennsylvania's Uniform Firearms Act, for example, states that "no person shall carry a firearm, rifle or shotgun upon the public streets or upon any public property during an emergency" unless that person is defending their life or property from immediate attack.
Bills are pending in Colorado and Georgia which would strike "firearms" from a list of items of which the governor may suspend sale, dispensing and transportation during a declared emergency.
Gun advocates are concerned about these laws.
"Personally, I think [North Carolina's] law is unconstitutional to start with and stupid public policy," said Alan Gottlieb, founder of Second Amendment Foundation, told WND. "This move in North Carolina may violate that [federal law], and we may look into that. We're looking at seeing how we can stop them from doing this in the future.
"This is the first time I've seen it done for a snow emergency," he continued. "It surprised us that they did this. There was no reason to do it, nothing to trigger it. No one was doing anything wrong."
The King, N.C., state of emergency was in effect for less than 24 hours over a Sunday evening, until roadways could be cleared.