Suppose you found yourself in the middle of a major natural disaster, like a hurricane, tornado or earthquake.

Or perhaps there has been a major terrorist attack nearby, perhaps using chemical, biological or radioactive agents.

First responders are stretched to the limit, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and its state-level affiliates are doing their best and the National Guard has been pulled out of its local armories and sent to the scene of the worst carnage.

History shows that, sadly, there are some people who venture out at such times not to help their fellow citizens, but to commit crimes against them. Looters break into stores and houses to steal valuable items, and while some residents or workers will have sought shelter elsewhere, others will stay put.

So, while chaos reigns, you are happy to see two police officers arrive at your door because you’re certain they’re there to help you.

Unfortunately, you’re wrong. They only have one question to ask: “Do you have any firearms?” Wanting to cooperate, you answer, “Yes, I do.”

Then they say, “Give them all to us, right now. A state of civil emergency has been declared, and the private right to keep guns and ammunition is now null and void.”

“Wait!” you say. “Some of my neighbors’ houses have already been looted, and I know people who have been attacked, and some women have even been raped. Everyone around here is in danger. If you take away my gun, I have no way to protect myself or my family. Will you stay here and protect me if I give up my gun?”

“Are you kidding?” they reply. “Every officer has to be in 10 places at once.” Then they confiscate your firearms.

And when you ask, “How am I to protect myself?” they say, “That’s not our problem. We’re just obeying orders.”

Think this couldn’t happen in America? It did in New Orleans, during Hurricane Katrina. With more than half the city flooded and many people unable to evacuate, officials sent police around not to guard vulnerable law-abiding citizens, but to take their guns, leaving them defenseless against the criminals roaming the streets.

That’s why the federal government has barred federal agencies from such confiscations, and now Maine lawmakers, along with those of many other states (including Louisiana), have passed standardized laws recommended by the American Legislative Exchange Council to guarantee that this violation of the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms cannot occur in Maine.

The right to self-defense is actually far older than the Bill of Rights, being inherent in our human nature.

But, while it is disappointing, it comes as no surprise that people who despise that right — at least as long as it is exercised with firearms — have come out of the shadows to decry laws such as Maine’s new Act to Protect Firearms Ownership During Times of Emergency.

The anti-seizure bill, co-sponsored by a Democrat, Rep. Michael Shaw of Standish, passed quickly and was signed by Gov. LePage.

Still, last Saturday a local representative for a national anti-gun lobby, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, called the bill “extreme” in a column in these pages.

The column also took lawmakers to task for measures permitting public and private employees with concealed-carry permits to keep guns locked in their cars in their employers’ parking lots.

But employers who wanted to prohibit this were also preventing their employees from protecting themselves on the way to and from work. That gave the employers the ability to deny their workers their civil rights even when their employees were not on company property, and that’s just not right.

Curiously, the same day’s paper contained a national story saying that some people were worried that the cities hosting this summer’s political conventions couldn’t bar people with permits from carrying guns.

But the people with permits have already passed security checks. It’s the people without permits, who are willing to break existing laws, who should raise concerns — although it’s hard to see how those already breaking the law would be deterred by one more piece of paper.

The SUPGV, which pretends to grass-roots status but has received funding from the liberal Joyce Foundation of Chicago (President Obama is a former board member, and it funds such liberal mouthpieces as Media Matters for America), has one agenda: fighting Americans’ Second Amendment civil rights.

If you were to believe them, you would have to think people like Shaw, or other anti-seizure law co-sponsors like Sen. Bill Diamond, a Gorham Democrat, or Sen. Brian Langley, an Ellsworth Republican, or all the law’s other bipartisan co-sponsors and supporters, are “extremists.”

But if these anti-liberty “progressives” are seeing extremists all around them, perhaps it’s because they’ve been looking in the mirror too much.

M.D. Harmon, a retired journalist and military officer, is a freelance journalist. He can be contacted at:

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