Friday, September 23, 2005

From My Wet, Soggy Fingers

How this drifted past my attention until now, I don't know. All this talk of Rita coming, and I missed the memo that said that the local authorities in New Orleans are confiscating weapons, specifically firearms from the citizens there.


I would ask how they have the authority to do that, but the NRA is doing just that, by filing suit on behalf of those that have had their firearms taken from them.

I'm not sure how I missed this until now. The quagmire started way back on Sept. 9th, when Police Superintendent P. Edwin Compass said that he was 'expanding' the gun confiscation order. Up until that point, law enforcement officials had found hundreds of firearms left behind from people fleeing the hurricane. They began actively searching for abandoned firearms after Coast Guard and Army helicopters were fired upon in early September.

Now, I'm okay with the last part. If a gun is just lying around, and people are shooting at Army helicopters, then by all means, take the gun that no one is claiming ownership to at that point. But the 'expansion' to the order was to take guns away from EVERYBODY, including weapons possessed by law abiding citizens.

Compass was quoted in the NY Times and Washington Post as saying:
"No one will be able to be armed," Compass said in The Washington Post article. "Guns will be taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns."

There is a statute on the Louisiana books that says the "chief law enforcement officer" can "regulate possession" of firearms during declared emergencies.

The statute goes to great length in its wording to avoid the word 'prohibit'. Louisiana statute Title 14, Section 329.6 provides for the regulation- not the prohibition as appears elsewhere intentionally in the language of the statute - of many things from flammable liquids to bullhorns and even weapons, but it does not authorize taking (prohibiting) them.

I guess I'm even okay with with the statute. But when I read the statute, what it tells me is that the chief law enforcement official can tell me where I can take/carry my gun, not that he can have it. If you're going to 'regulate' guns during an emergency, and close down gun stores during that time, that sounds legal by the statute. Even if you go as far to say that I can't leave my property with my gun, that sounds legal by the statue as well.

So it's going to come down to a Second Amendment issue, and that's where it's going to get messy. Or more messy as the case is. This is not a discussion as to the framers intent of the amendment. I'm pretty sure even the people on the WAY left will agree that the intent is that the populous has the right to defend itself. You may not agree that it should be legal to carry/own a modified assault rifle, but that's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about law abiding citizens being TOLD to give up their firearms. Not just the ones the WAY left want to get rid of ( the sawed off shotguns, the 50cal machine guns ), but ALL of the firearms.

One observer wondered aloud if this was a 'trial-balloon'. Is this the first step to disarm the populous? San Francisco is currently engaged in a very heated debate about becoming completely gun-free. Following New Orleans lead, say with an earthquake, are officials there going to demand that no one have a gun?

It's kind of a scary thought. If I had all day to write, I'd wonder where this goes next. Parts of New Orleans was poor. Now you've taken their firearms away from them. When they want to return, there's talk of using 'eminent domain' to take the land away, and rebuild in a better fashion in the eyes of the powers that be in Louisiana. And that is going to be the real scary trial balloon. They're going to have to make some laws up as they go along with the rebuilding of that city. And if the laws they're coming up with now, before the rebuilding starts are any indication of what they have in mind.... that's when the real nightmare might begin.


At 12:36 PM, Anonymous Beth Lawton, MKEonline said...


I'm the producer for I usually get these notes out earlier in the week, but I had some server issues to contend with yesterday. Anyway, we are running a Blog of the Week poll on, where we put five Wisconsin-based blogs up against each other for reader's to vote on. Your blog is in the running this week. For more information (as well as voting) go to Good luck! And let me know if you have any questions by e-mailing me at

- Beth Lawton, MKEonline

At 3:41 PM, Blogger Nick said...

Thankfully the US District Court just sided with the NRA in a lawsuit that has put a restraining order on the police in New Orleans preventing further confiscations.

Read about it here

At 8:54 PM, Blogger mal said...

considering how the New Orleans government has handled everything else, shoule we be surprised?


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