A Nurse with a Gun

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Missing Something?

The National Rifle Association has hired private investigators to find hundreds of people whose firearms were seized by city police in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to court papers filed this week. The NRA is trying to locate gun owners for a federal lawsuit that the lobbying group filed against Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley over the city's seizure of firearms after the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.

In the lawsuit, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation claim the city violated gun owners' constitutional right to bear arms and left them "at the mercy of roving gangs, home invaders, and other criminals" after Katrina. The NRA says the city seized more than 1,000 guns that weren't part of any criminal investigation after the hurricane. Police have said they took only guns that had been stolen or found in abandoned homes.

NRA lawyer Daniel Holliday said investigators have identified about 300 of the gun owners and located about 75 of them. Some of them could be called to testify during a trial, he added. "Finding these folks has been a nightmare," Holliday said. "That is really the guts of our case — to establish that there was indeed a pattern of the police going out and taking people's guns without any legal reason to do so."

In April 2006, police made about 700 firearms available for owners to claim if they could present a bill of sale or an affidavit with the weapon's serial number. An attorney for the city and a police department spokesman didn't return a reporter's telephone calls Wednesday.

Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Bellevue, Wash.-based Second Amendment Foundation, said the police department has returned only about 100 of the 1,000 seized guns. "Obviously, we don't expect the city to find everybody. We only wanted to see a good-faith effort, and that's what the city didn't do," Gottlieb added. "It's a bad example to let them get away with it."

In court papers filed Monday, NRA attorneys say finding the gun owners has been difficult because the storm has scattered so many residents. New Orleans had an estimated 455,000 residents before Katrina, but less than two-thirds of that number live there now. The NRA is asking for a delay in the trial, set to begin Feb. 19, saying they need more time to find gun owners. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier had not yet ruled on the request Wednesday.

By Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press Writer

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

one of the things that just seems to keep happening on seized firearms is that they are in such bad condition upon return that they are ruined and worthless.Does that piss anyone else off? Your property is taken illegally and then made worthless and no one is made to compensate you for your loss.

9:49 PM  
Anonymous Bob in Houston. said...

Aw jeezus, those pics just make me absolutely sick to my stomach. I think my weekend project is going to be to drag all of my collected firearms out, take good, high quality pics of all of them showing the serials, then scan all my receipts, bills of sales and such and burn all of them onto several different CDs to put in different locations and I am going to encourage my friends to all do the same.

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

Wee bit difficult to properly identify a ball of rust. Looks like typical police/atf storage conditions, except for substituting salt water for the usual rain water in the 55 gal barrels.

10:27 PM  
Anonymous Dion said...

I see a lot of nashing of teeth! But what shall we do when this happens again?
Call the state police?

I understand that nobody wants to be the first to fire a shot in defense.
It could verywell be your son or daughter that gets the orders to begin a house to house.

I think some type of plan is in order. I don't profess to know what it might be but, something is better than nothing.

Acting after the fact is exactly what the police do.
Aren't we saying that isn't good enough?

10:21 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Dion,
In Louisiana, it was called House Bill 760, passed on April 25, 2006. Other states have passed similar bills protecting the rights of gun owners in a disaster. If your state has not, time to get to work........

The firearms confiscated after Katrina still have to be returned to their rightful owners. The responsible parties still must face their day in court. Eventually.

4:18 PM  
Blogger MOMinuteMan said...

"Police have said they took only guns that had been stolen or found in abandoned homes."

I guess they figure that no one has seen the video of the NOPD cop tackling the old woman in her kitchen to take her pistol from her.

The guns they took have been stolen alright... By the NOPD.

7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a former resident of New Orleans (I got out decades before Katrina), I'm well aware of the NOPD's corruption. They're rightly infamous for being perhaps the largest criminal organization in Louisiana. It's no surprise that they would go around stealing people's guns. The only surprise is that the guns were "stored" somewhere other than the officers' homes.

4:12 AM  

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