Suit Filed to Halt New Orleans Gun Seizures
Newsmax | September 22, 2005
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.
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.