News Articles on Katrina and Guns

Discussion in 'Hunters Rights Forum' started by The Other David, Sep 21, 2005.

  1. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    This will be an on-going thread as long as articles are being published. Some of these are very insightful and you may find them useful in arguing with some people!

    Please add your own article to the list!

    David

    Age of the Incredible

    By Joseph Sabino Mistick
    Sunday, September 18, 2005

    We are living in the Age of the Incredible. Events are unfolding in an unsettling manner. Many of us watch the news until it hurts. We then ponder the raised questions and reconsider our prior beliefs.
    There always will be a few who can luxuriate in mindless self-assurance; they seem to be at peace with their beliefs, any evidence to the contrary be damned. President Bush seems to have acquired some of the infallibility in American government that always has concerned anti-papists.

    Any criticism of Bush causes acolytes to scream and thrash about. They have no tolerance for the raucous dissent and debate that marked America's beginnings.

    As for the rest of us, we are faced with daily events that only can be described as incredible. At every turn, we are challenged to rethink and regroup. And to show that nothing has shaken our beliefs more than Hurricane Katrina, just consider these incredible revelations:

    The survivalists are right. After the dire but unfounded predictions of Y2K economic collapse and chaos, we sought comfort in the story of the boy who cried wolf too often. Anyone who hoarded gold coins or purchased a gasoline generator was easily dismissed as a crackpot.
    But we now know that there may come a day when each of us would give anything for a case of bottled water and a ready-to-eat meal. We could become refugees in our own land, escaping catastrophe with only the clothes on our backs. Windup radios could be our only contact with the outside world and a sturdy tent might be our mansion.

    The NRA might be right. The Second Amendment states: "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Those words have rarely had the real-world vitality that was witnessed in the wake of Katrina.
    During the best of times, some of our neighbors do not wish us the best; during a catastrophe, the fight for survival results in an epidemic of desperation, greed and panic. Whatever your political philosophy, protecting your family must be the first priority; and arming yourself -- when government can no longer protect you and yours -- now makes sense.

    Throwing money at a problem may be the best and cheapest solution. While this approach has always been the Achilles' heel of big government, the bureaucracy's insatiable hunger for formality turns all pretense of help into a cruel joke. People in crisis need fast cash; anything short of that is just an expensive charade.
    A few years back, when the Rev. Dave Crowley was the pastor of Pittsburgh's Holy Angels Church, the Hays neighborhood was hit with yet another flood. If you made your way into Hays after the waters receded, you would have found a man who understood the downside of disaster.

    Father Dave set up shop on the sidewalk outside his church and simply handed out cash to his community's families. And to speed their return to their homes, there were vouchers for washers, dryers and hot water heaters. This is a simple but effective model: Identify what the people in crisis need and get it to them quickly.

    So Katrina has lessons for us all. Some citizens will refuse to question and doubt and challenge the role of government in this disaster. Incredibly, they will have to learn their lessons from the next one.
    http://pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/opinion/columnists/mistick/s_374928.html
     
  2. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Katrina chaos boosts case for 2nd Amendment


    By Nolan Finley / The Detroit News

    Related reports


    More on Arms

    Michigan bills would allow residents to fatally shoot intruders - 09/09/05
    Teen faces carjacking, gun possession charges - 08/19/05
    Man has blast making cannons - 07/10/05

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    As New Orleans flooded and whatever civil society the city could lay claim to disintegrated, those left behind needed two things: a powerful will to survive and a gun.

    Hurricane Katrina might end up being the best friend the Second Amendment ever had.

    Gun dealers across the country are reporting increased sales. People who saw on television what happens when government can't deliver on the promise of protecting its citizens are buying firearms as an insurance policy against anarchy.

    That assurance of government-provided security has convinced individual Americans to gradually trade in their unrestrained constitutional right to bear arms.

    But for days, there was no law in New Orleans and no government to speak of. All rules were off.

    While the politically correct version of what happened is that desperate people looted stores for food and water, that's only part of the story. Bands of armed hoodlums roamed the city, smashing their way into businesses and homes, carting off jewelry, liquor, televisions and other goods that had nothing to do with survival.

    People were murdered, raped, stripped of their meager provisions.

    Those with the best chance of surviving were the ones who had shotguns, rifles and pistols stashed away in closets and drawers.

    Homeowner John Carolan ran off a mob of young men armed with knives and machetes and intent on stealing his generator by firing a few rounds from a .357 Magnum over their heads. "They scattered," he told reporters.

    After looters poured into a nursing home and carted off the food, water and medicine, administrator Peggy Hoffman told the Associated Press, "we'll have to equip our department heads with guns and teach them how to shoot."

    Lots of Americans are thinking about shooting lessons today.

    The tiresome question, "Why does anyone need a gun?" now has its answer.

    Order can deteriorate in this country to the point where nothing stands between the law-abiding citizen and the marauding mob except blue steel. It happened in New Orleans. It can happen anywhere else in America at anytime.

    It will be harder now for the anti-gun lobby to convince Americans to dismantle even more of the Second Amendment.

    Of course, they'll try to spin this to say that were there no guns to begin with, the looters wouldn't have been armed and dangerous. But thieves, murderers and the rest of the rabble have always been more ingenious at procuring weapons than law-abiding citizens.

    No amount of gun control laws will keep the dark side of this society from arming itself for evil purposes.

    To twist the old bumper sticker, Americans will give up their guns when they can be certain all the guns have been pried out of the cold, dead fingers of all the bad guys.

    Until then, they'll prefer to keep a little heat in the house.

    http://www.detnews.com/2005/editorial/0509/18/A17-318167.htm
     
  3. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Gun Groups Upset by Post-Katrina Firearm Confiscations
    By Isaac Wolf -

    Gun rights groups are pointing to Hurricane Katrina as the best example since the 1992 Los Angeles riots of the need for civilians to carry firearms. They say that lawlessness and looting could be prevented by responsibly armed citizens.

    Meanwhile, the gun rights advocates say they are deeply troubled by the decision, made by New Orleans Police Superintendent Edwin Compass, to confiscate civilian firearms during the citywide evacuation earlier this month.

    Kelly Hobbs, a National Rifle Association spokeswoman, said the group had reports from New Orleans that police had gone to homes of people who had recently purchased guns to confiscate them.

    "It's really irresponsible for the authorities to try to confiscate guns from law-abiding individuals," said Andrew A. Arulanandam, also an NRA spokesman. He said officials should instead be working to locate and disarm criminals.

    Peter S. Hamm, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which supports laws regulating and limiting gun ownership, criticized the NRA and other gun-rights' groups as trying to use a natural catastrophe for political gain.

    He said that Katrina - and its effect of intensifying focus on preparing for manmade and natural disasters - will not cause Americans to warm up to guns. "That has already happened," he said. "9/11 made people think 'I have to defend myself.' "

    Hamm said the public viewed gun ownership as largely positive in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks but that perceptions of gun ownership following Katrina were mixed. Stories of guns being used in self defense will balance against tales of "the guys who had guns and were terrorizing people in the convention center" and reports of thieves pilfering guns from pawn shops, Hamm said.

    "In sum, it will be a wash," Hamm said.

    Surveys show that public support for gun control has eroded over the last 15 years. In 1990, a Gallup poll found that 78 percent of Americans wanted the laws to be more strict. By October 2004, that number was down to 54 percent.

    Some retailers, responding to the threat of looting and the needs of local law enforcement officials, have temporarily discontinued selling guns.

    Wal-Mart stopped selling firearms at 40 stores in the affected areas and has changed the way it sells guns at other stores by locking them in vaults, said spokeswoman Karen A. Burk.

    Burk would not confirm press reports that looters stole Wal-Mart guns immediately after Katrina struck. "We're trying to work with local authorities to do the right things," she said, adding that there is no timeline for resuming gun sales at the 40 stores.

    Burk said that firearm security isn't an issue for Wal-Mart. "Firearms are kept behind glass in general," she said. "We keep them safe."

    The Gun Owners of America was disappointed with Wal-Mart's decision. "In a time of crisis when people say they most need self protection, Wal-Mart says, 'We're not going to do it,' " said GOA spokesman Erich M. Pratt.

    Despite the stolen firearms, Pratt said that gun retailers should not be called on to beef up security. "It's not going to keep firearms out of the bad guys' hands - they're still going to get them," he said.

    The GOA, which has video on its Web site of an ABC news story that says soldiers confiscated guns from homeowners, considers Katrina a "critical juncture" in the public debate about gun control. "If nothing happens from these confiscations, that would set a horrible precedent - suspending constitutional rights under a calamity," Pratt said.

    New Orleans and Louisiana officials could not be reached for comment.

    http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/10380/
     
  4. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    New Orleans Gun Seizures Allegedly 'Creating More Victims'
    By Jeff Johnson
    CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
    September 14, 2005

    (CNSNews.com) - Few people objected when police began gathering firearms they found in abandoned New Orleans homes, to prevent them from falling into the hands of criminals. But one gun policy expert says confiscating guns from law abiding citizens who remain in the city is increasing the danger posed by criminals.

    New Orleans Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass III explained Sept. 9 that the impending mandatory evacuation of the city was truly mandatory, this time, and that residents had to leave for their own safety.

    "Individuals are at risk of dying," Compass told The New York Times. "There's nothing more important than the preservation of human life."

    But many residents, whose neighborhoods were undamaged by either Hurricane Katrina or the resulting flooding, do not want to leave. Most fear looters will damage or destroy anything they cannot steal and some of those citizens have armed themselves.

    New Orleans police and law enforcement officers from hundreds of other agencies assisting them found hundreds of firearms left behind by residents fleeing the hurricane who probably expected to return to their homes, and their guns, within a few days. The search for the abandoned guns began after criminals fired on police and U.S. Army and Coast Guard rescue helicopters.

    City officials then announced that they would, at some point, begin forcibly removing residents who refused to leave the city. Compass explained that the gun confiscation order had also been expanded to include weapons possessed by law abiding citizens, even those with valid, state-issued concealed weapons permits.

    "No one will be able to be armed," Compass told the Washington Post. "Guns will be taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns."

    John Lott, resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute and the author of "More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws," told Cybercast News Service that he is "very disappointed" with the decision by New Orleans leaders.

    "The question is, 'Are the police there able to protect people?' And I think he would have to be one of the first to acknowledge that the police simply aren't capable of protecting the people who are there," Lott said. "One thing that this hurricane has shown is that people are ultimately forced to protect themselves. It would be nice if the police were available to go and protect everybody, but they're not."

    Police were forced, Lott said, to choose between rescuing hurricane survivors and enforcing the law. The necessary choice, he believes, left unarmed residents defenseless.

    "They just weren't able to do both and many people were falling victim to criminals," Lott argued, "You had roving gangs going around and it's not really clear what else you would have advised someone to do other than having a gun for protection."

    Lott said he is also disappointed that police appear to be engaging in "selective" gun confiscation. After Compass expanded the original order, the New York Times reported that it, "apparently does not apply to the hundreds of security guards whom businesses and some wealthy individuals have hired to protect their property."

    Police officials would not respond to reporters' questions about allowing the guards, who are private citizens with firearms training similar to concealed weapons permit holders, to keep their guns.

    "They seem selective in ways that are a little bit hard to fathom in terms of who they let have a gun," Lott said, adding that many wealthy individuals were also apparently being allowed to keep their firearms. "Lots of people who live in the poorest areas there probably needed the most protection."

    Lott said the police are "running a real risk" by taking away the only protection some New Orleans residents have from criminals.

    "There are obviously bad people there who have guns. But, to take away the guns from the law abiding citizens - so that they can't protect themselves from those same people that the police are worried about - I don't think makes much sense," Lott concluded. "You're going to end up creating more victims and easier targets for criminals to attack."

    Second Amendment advocates blast New Orleans policy

    A number of pro-gun groups blasted the gun confiscations as "unconstitutional," "illegal" and, even, "the sin of arrogance."

    Alan Gottlieb, of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA), is demanding a federal investigation of the actions.

    "I also want to know under just what authority New Orleans officials are confiscating lawfully-owned firearms from law-abiding citizens," Gottlieb said in a press statement. "Where does it say that the state and federal Constitutions can be nullified, even briefly, simply because of a hurricane? In every other natural disaster this country has ever faced, people retain their civil rights, including the right of self-defense, but New Orleans and Louisiana state officials have added the sin of arrogance to incompetence and negligence for which they must be held accountable when this is over."

    Erich Pratt, communications director for Gun Owners of America, explained his disagreement with the policy by recounting the story of New Orleans resident Charlie Hackett.

    "[H]e and his neighbor, John Carolan, stood guard over their homes to ward off looters who, rummaging through the neighborhoods, were smashing windows and ransacking stores," Pratt wrote.

    "It was pandemonium for a couple of nights," Pratt recalled from Hackett's description of the incident. "We just felt that when they got done with the stores, they'd come to the homes," Hackett told Pratt.

    According to Pratt, armed looters did target Carolan's house, demanding his generator, but departed when Carolan showed them that he was armed.

    Pratt recalled the Los Angeles riots of 1992, when scores of businesses were burned by protesters angry over the acquittal of police officers accused of beating Rodney King.

    "But not everybody in Los Angeles suffered. In some of the hot spots, Korean merchants were able to successfully protect their stores with semi-automatic firearms," Pratt said. "In areas where armed citizens banded together for self-protection, their businesses were spared while others (which were left unprotected) burned to the ground."

    Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association (NRA), said the civil disorder in New Orleans is "exactly the kind of situation where the Second Amendment was intended to allow citizens to protect themselves.

    "When law enforcement isn't available, Americans turn to the one right that protects all the others -- the right to keep and bear arms," LaPierre said in a media release. "This attempt to repeal the Second Amendment should be condemned."

    Louisiana law allows officials to "regulate possession" of firearms during a declared emergency, but the NRA's chief lobbyist, Chris Cox, argued that "regulation" and "confiscation" were not the same in the eyes of the law.

    "Authorities are using that statute to do what the looters and criminals could not," Cox added, which is to "disarm the law-abiding citizens of New Orleans trying to protect their homes and families."

    All three organizations said they were pursuing legal options to stop the confiscations and force the city to return firearms to any citizen who had not violated the law when their gun was taken.

    http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewNation.asp?Page=\Nation\archive\200509\NAT20050914a.html
     
  5. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Armed militia protects its New Orleans neighborhood
    Band of neighbors survived Hurricane Katrina, then fought off looters.
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    MORE ON HURRICANE KATRINA



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    By Bob Dart

    WASHINGTON BUREAU

    Saturday, September 10, 2005

    NEW ORLEANS -- The Algiers Point militia put away its weapons Friday as Army soldiers patrolled the historic neighborhood across the Mississippi River from the French Quarter.

    But the band of neighbors who survived Hurricane Katrina and then fought off looters has not disarmed.

    "Pit Bull Will Attack. We Are Here and Have Gun and Will Shoot," said the sign on Alexandra Boza's front porch. Actually, said the woman behind the sign, "I have two pistols."

    "I'm a part of the militia," Boza said. "We were taking the law into our own hands, but I didn't kill anyone."

    She did quietly open her front door and fire a warning shot one night when she heard a loud group of young men approaching her house.

    About a week later, she said, she finally saw a New Orleans police officer on her street and told him she had guns.

    "He told me, 'Honey, I don't blame you,' " she said.

    The several dozen people who did not evacuate from Algiers Point said that for days after the storm, they did not see any police officers or soldiers but did see gangs of intruders.

    So they set up what might be the ultimate neighborhood watch.

    At night, the balcony of a beautifully restored Victorian house built in 1871 served as a lookout point.

    "I had the right flank," Vinnie Pervel said. Sitting in a white rocking chair on the balcony, his neighbor, Gareth Stubbs, protected the left flank.

    They were armed with an arsenal gathered from the neighborhood: a shotgun, pistols, a flare gun and a Vietnam-era AK-47.

    They were backed up by Gregg Harris, who lives in the house with Pervel, and Pervel's 74-year-old mother, Jennie, who lives across Pelican Street from her son and is known in Algiers Point as "Miss P."

    Many nights, Miss P. had a .38-caliber pistol in one hand and rosary beads in the other.

    "Mom was a trouper," Pervel said.

    The threat was real.

    On the day after Katrina blew through, Pervel was carjacked a couple of blocks from his house. A past president of the Algiers Point Association homeowners group, Pervel was going to houses that had been evacuated and turning off the gas to prevent fires.

    A guy with a mallet "hit me in the back of the head," Pervel said. "He said, 'We want your keys.' I said, 'Here, take them.' "

    Inside the white Ford van were a portable generator, tools and other hurricane supplies. A hurt and frustrated Pervel threw pliers at the van as it drove off and broke a back window.

    Another afternoon, a gunfight broke out on the streets as armed neighbors and armed intruders exchanged fire.

    "About 25 rounds were fired," Harris said.

    Blood was later found on the street from a wounded intruder.

    Not far away, Oakwood Center mall was seriously damaged in a fire caused by vandals.

    "We were really afraid of fires. These old houses are so close together that if one was set afire, the whole street would all go up," Harris said. "We lived in terror for a week."

    Their house is filled with antique furniture, and there's a well-kept garden and patio in back.

    "We've been restoring this house for 20 years," Harris said.

    There are gas lamps on the columned porch that stayed on during the storm and its aftermath. The militia rigged car headlights and a car battery on porches of nearby houses. Then they put empty cans beneath trees that had fallen across both ends of the block.

    When someone approached in the darkness, "you could hear the cans rattle.

    Then we would hit the switch at the battery and light up the street," Pervel said. "We would yell, 'We're going to count three, and if you don't identify yourself, we're going to start shooting.' "

    They could hear people fleeing and never fired a shot.

    During the days, the hurricane holdouts patrolled the streets protecting their houses and the ones of evacuees.

    "I was packing," Robert Johns said. "A .22 magnum with hollow points and an 8 mm Mauser from World War II with armor-piercing shells."

    Despite their efforts, some deserted houses in the neighborhood were broken into and looted, Pervel said.

    Now the Algiers Point militia has defiantly declared it will not heed any orders for mandatory evacuation. The relatively elevated neighborhood area is across the Mississippi River from the city's worst flooded areas and has running water, gas and phone service.

    "They say they're going to drag us kicking and screaming from our houses. For what? To take us to concentration camps where we'll be raped and killed," Ramona Parker said. "This is supposed to be America. We're honest citizens. We're not troublemakers. We pay our taxes."

    "It would be cruel for the city to make us evacuate after what we've been through," Pervel said.

    The roof was damaged on her house, and the rains left "water up to my ankles," Boza said. So she moved into her mother's home nearby.

    She said she still has 42 bullets to expend before she'll be forcibly evacuated.

    "Then I hope the men they send to pull me out are 6 feet 2 inches and really cute," she said. "I'll be struggling and flirting at the same time."

    http://www.statesman.com/search/content/auto/epaper/editions/today/news_342278fe0324917e000f.html
     
  6. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Big Easy hard on gun rights



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    By Dimitri Vassilaros
    TRIBUNE-REVIEW
    Sunday, September 18, 2005


    Businesses selling bumper stickers that read "If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns" also should offer one with the rejoinder "We told you so."
    In spite of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina -- and then by its citizens -- New Orleans still is the "Big Easy" because of its total and effortless vandalizing of the Second Amendment.

    Say what you will about the astounding ineptitude of Mayor C. Ray "Not My Fault" Nagin and Police Superintendent P. Edwin "Me Neither" Compass III who, when interviewed jointly, wear "I'm with stupid" T-shirts with arrows pointing at each other. Who could have predicted that their gun grabbing would be almost lethally efficient?

    As New Orleans devolved into a less civilized version of Kevin Costner's "Waterworld," and as vandals, looters and rapists shouted "Laissez les bons temps rouler" ("Let the good times roll") while shooting at rescue helicopters and other signs of civilized behavior, police started confiscating the guns of their fellow New Orleanians.

    Well, at least from those not shooting at them.

    The government started tracking down law-abiding gun owners to ensure that civilians could not have pistols, shotguns or other firearms. "Only law enforcement are (sic) allowed to have weapons," Mr. Compass said.

    That would be about 500 fewer people who had been in law enforcement before his cops abandoned their posts, fellow officers and citizens who were counting on them.

    "When the police superintendent articulated it was a state of emergency, he admitted he did not know if he had the authority to do that," said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America. "He just did it."

    But security guards hired by businesses and individuals kept packing heat since no one dared order them to drop their M-16s and other assault riles.

    Police preferred to handcuff homeowners to make the Big Easy gun confiscation easier. "Now that the city is relatively calm, they also went to areas that were not flooded, including to $1 million houses," Mr. Pratt said. "Now that they get disarmed, who will be there to protect them?"

    There were no reports of criminals giving up their guns to comply with the mayor's edict. Perhaps because they realized the government made it less likely they would be shot during their reign of terror, especially if they headed for higher ground in more affluent neighborhoods.

    The situation probably is still too chaotic to determine if police were referring to lists of licensed gun owners, including those who had to get permits from the politicians to carry concealed weapons. But detailed records of law-abiding gun owners sure would have come in handy to disarm them just as they most needed to protect themselves.

    There is still time for the Million Mom March to charge into New Orleans like when the saints go marching in to be human shields for defenseless homeowners. And for potential victims to exploit gun show loopholes to protect themselves -- until a cop knocks on the door.

    The Greater New Orleans Buy Back Committee had its annual drive last month to get guns off the streets. It netted 244 weapons from citizens fed up with the violence guns create when they have a mind to. Two days later, Katrina made landfall.

    Do you think any former gun owners are having second thoughts?

    http://pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/opinion/columnists/vassilaros/s_374924.html
     
  7. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    Defenseless On the Bayou

    New Orleans gun confiscation is foolish and illegal

    Dave Kopel

    In the nearly two weeks since Hurricane Katrina, the government of New Orleans has devolved from its traditional status as an elective kleptocracy into something far more dangerous: an anarcho-tyranny that refuses to protect the public from criminals while preventing people from protecting themselves. At the orders of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, the New Orleans Police, the National Guard, the Oklahoma National Guard, and U.S. Marshals have begun breaking into homes at gunpoint, confiscating their lawfully-owned firearms, and evicting the residents. "No one is allowed to be armed. We're going to take all the guns," says P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police.

    Last week, thousands of New Orleanians huddled in the Superdome and the Convention Center got a taste of anarcho-tyranny. Everyone entering those buildings was searched for firearms. So for a few days, they lived in a small world without guns. As in other such worlds, the weaker soon became the prey of the stronger. Tuesday's New Orleans Times-Picayune reported some of the grim results, as an Arkansas National Guardsman showed the reporter dozens of bodies rotting in a non-functional freezer.

    In the rest of the city, some police officers abandoned their posts, while others joined the looting spree. For several days, the ones who stayed on the job did not act to stop the looting that was going on right in front of them. To the extent that any homes or businesses were saved, the saviors were the many good citizens of New Orleans who defended their families, homes, and businesses with their own firearms.

    These people were operating within their legal rights. The law authorizes citizen's arrests for any felony, and in the past (in the 1964 case McKellar v. Mason), a Louisiana court held that shooting a property thief in the spine was a legitimate citizen's arrest.

    The aftermath of the hurricane has featured prominent stories of citizens legitimately defending lives and property. New Orleans lies on the north side of the Mississippi River, and the city of Algiers is on the south. The Times-Picayune detailed how dozens of neighbors in one part of Algiers had formed a militia. After a car-jacking and an attack on a home by looters, the neighborhood recognized the need for a common defense; they shared firearms, took turns on patrol, and guarded the elderly. Although the initial looting had resulted in a gun battle, once the patrols began, the militia never had to fire a shot. Likewise, the Garden District of New Orleans, one of the city's top tourist attractions, was protected by armed residents.

    The good gun-owning citizens of New Orleans and the surrounding areas ought to be thanked for helping to save some of their city after Mayor Nagin, incoherent and weeping, had fled to Baton Rouge. Yet instead these citizens are being victimized by a new round of home invasions and looting, these ones government-organized, for the purpose of firearms confiscation.

    The Mayor and Governor do have the legal authority to mandate evacuation, but failure to comply is a misdemeanor; so the authority to use force to compel evacuation goes no further than the power to effect a misdemeanor arrest. The preemptive confiscation of every private firearm in the city far exceeds any reasonable attempt to carry out misdemeanor arrests for persons who disobey orders to leave.

    Louisiana statutory law does allow some restrictions on firearms during extraordinary conditions. One statute says that after the Governor proclaims a state of emergency (as Governor Blanco has done), "the chief law enforcement officer of the political subdivision affected by the proclamation may...promulgate orders...regulating and controlling the possession, storage, display, sale, transport and use of firearms, other dangerous weapons and ammunition." But the statute does not, and could not, supersede the Louisiana Constitution, which declares that "The right of each citizen to keep and bear arms shall not be abridged, but this provision shall not prevent the passage of laws to prohibit the carrying of weapons concealed on the person."

    The power of "regulating and controlling" is not the same as the power of "prohibiting and controlling." The emergency statute actually draws this distinction in its language, which refers to "prohibiting" price-gouging, sale of alcohol, and curfew violations, but only to "regulating and controlling" firearms. Accordingly, the police superintendent's order "prohibiting" firearms possession is beyond his lawful authority. It is an illegal order.

    Last week, we saw an awful truth in New Orleans: A disaster can bring out predators ready to loot, rampage, and pillage the moment that they have the opportunity. Now we are seeing another awful truth: There is no shortage of police officers and National Guardsmen who will obey illegal orders to threaten peaceful citizens at gunpoint and confiscate their firearms.

    Dave Kopel is Research Director of the Independence Institute.

    http://www.reason.com/hod/dk091005.shtml
     
  8. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

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    New Orleans Begins Confiscating Firearms as Water Recedes
    By ALEX BERENSON and TIMOTHY WILLIAMS Published: September 8, 2005

    NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 8 - Waters were receding across this flood-beaten city today as police officers began confiscating weapons, including legally registered firearms, from civilians in preparation for a mass forced evacuation of the residents still living here.

    Police officers looking for survivors today in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
    No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns or other firearms, said P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said.

    But that order apparently does not apply to hundreds of security guards hired by businesses and some wealthy individuals to protect property. The guards, employees of private security companies like Blackwater, openly carry M-16's and other assault rifles. Mr. Compass said that he was aware of the private guards, but that the police had no plans to make them give up their weapons.

    Nearly two weeks after the floods began, New Orleans has turned into an armed camp, patrolled by thousands of local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, as well as National Guard troops and active-duty soldiers. While armed looters roamed unchecked last week, the city is now calm. No arrests were made on Wednesday night or this morning, and the police received only 10 calls for service, a police spokesman said.

    ...
    Among the authorities, though, some confusion lingered about how a widespread evacuation by force would work, and how much support it would get at the federal and state level. Mayor C. Ray Nagin told the police and the military on Tuesday to remove all residents for their own safety, and on Wednesday, the police superintendent, Mr. Compass, said state laws give the mayor the authority to declare martial law and order the evacuations.

    "There's a martial law declaration in place that gives us legal authority for mandatory evacuations," Mr. Compass said. "We'll use the minimum amount of force necessary."

    But because the New Orleans Police Department has only about 1,000 working officers, the city is largely in the hands of National Guard troops and active-duty soldiers.

    State officials said Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco could tell the Guard to carry out the forced removals, but they stopped short of a commitment to do so. In Washington, Lt. Gen. Joseph R. Inge, deputy commander of the United States Northern Command, said regular troops "would not be used" in any forced evacuation.

    The state disaster law does not supersede either the state or federal Constitutions, said Kenneth M. Murchison, a law professor at Louisiana State University. But even so, Mr. Nagin's decision could be a smart strategy that does not violate fundamental rights, Professor Murchison said.

    When police officers came to Billie Moore's 3,000 square foot Victorian to warn her of the health risks of remaining in the city, she pushed her identification tag from the hospital where she works as a nurse through slats in the door.

    "I guess you know the health risks then," the officer said as he walked away.

    Ms. Moore and her husband, Richard Robinson, who do not drive and use bicycles for the 5-mile ride to their jobs at the still-functioning Ochsner Hospital in suburban Jefferson Parish, have no plans to leave. Their circa-1895 home, on the city's southwest flank, suffered virtually no damage in the hurricane or its aftermath. They have been lighting an old gas stove with a match to cook pasta and rice, dumping cans of peas on top for flavor.

    "We try to be normal and sit down and eat," Ms. Moore, 52, explained as she showed off the expansive, well-kept home where they have lived for 10 years. "I think that's how we'll stay healthy is if I keep the house clean."

    Ms. Moore said she had not worked since the hurricane because there are few babies left at the hospital, but that she remains on standby; her husband has been on duty the past five days.

    "I don't want to go, I don't want to lose my job," she said. "Who's going to take care of the patients if all the nurses go away?"

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/08/n...&en=efe0a58b7fc8e12c&ei=5094&partner=homepage
     
  9. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
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    SAF, NRA ASK FEDERAL COURT TO HALT NEW ORLEANS GUN SEIZURES

    BATON ROUGE, LA (Sept. 22) – The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and National Rifle Association (NRA) joined with individual gun owners in Louisiana Thursday morning, filing a motion in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana seeking a temporary restraining order to stop authorities in and around the City of New Orleans from seizing firearms from private citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

    Click here to make a contribution to help fund this lawsuit.

    Arbitrary gun seizures, without warrant or probable cause, have been reported during the past three weeks since the Crescent City was devastated by the hurricane. In cases reported to SAF, police refused to give citizens receipts for their seized firearms. Earlier, SAF insisted that police account for all seized firearms, disclose their whereabouts, and explain how they will be returned to their rightful owners. Authorities have not responded.

    Gun confiscations have been highly publicized since the New York Times quoted New Orleans Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass III, who said, "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," and ABC News quoted Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley stating, "No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons."

    For example, a San Francisco, CA camera crew from KTVU filmed one incident in which visiting California Highway Patrol officers tackled an elderly woman identified as Patricia Konie, to seize her pistol and forcibly remove her from her home. An ABC news crew accompanying an Oklahoma National Guard unit filmed another incident in which homeowners were handcuffed and disarmed, then released but without their firearms.

    "We are delighted to work jointly with the NRA in an effort to bring these outrageous gun seizures to a halt," said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. "Our inquiries about these confiscations were cavalierly ignored, as were our demands for a public explanation from the police and city officials about why citizens were being unlawfully disarmed, leaving them defenseless against lingering bands of looters and thugs.

    "New Orleans officials left us with no recourse," Gottlieb observed. "It was bad enough that Big Easy residents were victims of the worst natural disaster in the nation's history. That they would be subsequently victimized by their own local government, taking their personal property without warrant, is unconscionable. These illegal gun seizures must be stopped, now."

    PS Click here to make a contribution to help fund this lawsuit.


    -END-
     
  10. The Other David

    The Other David Elite Refuge Member

    Messages:
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    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2000
    Groups call arms seizures 'arbitrary'
    By Joyce Howard Price
    THE WASHINGTON TIMES
    September 23, 2005


    Two national gun rights groups yesterday joined individual Louisiana gun owners in a federal lawsuit to stop authorities from confiscating firearms from private citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
    The National Rifle Association (NRA) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, seeking a temporary restraining order to halt the seizures of guns from law-abiding citizens. They described the confiscations as "arbitrary," "without warrant or probable cause" and thus "illegal."
    New Orleans Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass III "completely overstepped his bounds ... when he announced two weeks ago in the New York Times that only law-enforcement personnel are allowed to have weapons," Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the 3-million member NRA said in an interview yesterday.
    The police superintendent's comments were echoed by the city's Deputy Police Chief Warren Riley, who told ABC News: "No one will be able to be armed. We are going to take all the weapons."
    SAF founder Alan Gottlieb called the gun seizures "outrageous" and "illegal." He said New Orleans officials have refused to tell gun rights groups why they are now leaving citizens, already devastated by the Category 4 hurricane, "defenseless against lingering bands of looters and thugs."
    They "left us with no recourse" but litigation, Mr. Gottlieb said.
    Mr. LaPierre noted TV news coverage showing law-enforcement personnel going door-to-door to seize guns from New Orleans-area residents -- an action he said is unprecedented in U.S. history. The NRA official said he's talked to "hundreds of people who are enraged" about the new policy.
    Given the lawlessness in New Orleans, residents who remain in the storm-ravaged area there need their guns for protection, said Mr. LaPierre.
    "Things are worse at night, and people say their gun is the only source of comfort they have, the one thing they can depend on to save themselves and their families," Mr. LaPierre said, noting that a "third of the New Orleans Police Department walked off their jobs" during the Katrina emergency.
    "In fact, the Second Amendment has really been the underpinning for [New Orleans] citizens to stay alive," he said.
    Opponents of private gun ownership often say that public safety is their goal, "but in New Orleans, there was a complete collapse of government's ability to protect anyone," Mr. LaPierre said. "Citizens could only count on the looters, robbers and rapists."
    Attempts to reach the New Orleans Police Department yesterday about its gun confiscation policy were unsuccessful.
    Plaintiffs in the suit against the City of New Orleans are two local gun owners. One, whom Mr. LaPierre identified as Buell Teel, was on a boat rescuing people. "To protect himself, he had a firearm on the boat," which police saw and seized, Mr. LaPierre said.
     

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